Horton supporters are urged to join an NHS hero as he stops off in Banbury on a lone 400-mile journey from Glasgow to London.
James Corbetta native of Chester, has walked from Scotland and aims to reach the Houses of Parliament in time for MPs’ return after the summer recess.
His route has taken him through vast areas of the country where NHS and hospital services are being reconfigured and in many cases cutback or centralised.
On Saturday Mr Corbett comes to the Horton General where 45 beds have been closed, intensive care downgraded and obstetrics and special care baby unit moved to Oxford since 2016.
Keep the Horton General deputy chairman Charlotte Bird said: “We are delighted that James is taking time out on his rest day at Milton Keynes to come and highlight the battle we have been having here in Banbury.
“We know that the Horton is invaluable to tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in Banburyshire and we hope our supporters will turn out to welcome James at the Horton front entrance, on the Oxford Road, on Saturday at 12pm.
“We are in full support of his bid to highlight the pressures the NHS is under and his wish to save publicly provided, publicly run hospitals and health facilities for the people who fund this vital public service.”
Mr Corbett, an English Teacher from Chester has cast aside his usual summer holiday for the walk which started at Glasgow’s Royal Children’s Hospital to Westminster as a protest against the creeping privatisation of the NHS.
He is making his way to London via Northampton, Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes and local campaigners are keen to support him.
James has been overwhelmed by the support shown and how members of the public have taken time to listen to his message and sign his petition.
He said: “What people don’t realise is that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 ended the Government’s duty to provide the NHS for all of us.
“Instead they’ve given the responsibility to the quango NHS England and the commercial market model has left the NHS open to exploitation by companies whose only motive is profit - and the results are already proving to be catastrophic for ordinary people.”
Mr Corbett’s petition is gathering signatures all along the route. It calls for the NHS to become the sole responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health once more. It also calls for an end to increasing privatisation of the NHS as more profit-driven companies flock to the NHS as a potential money earner.
Mr Corbett has walked through Cumbria, Lancashire and the North West and he plans to arrive in London in the first week of the new session of Parliament. He hopes MPs will take some time to meet with him.
Steven Carne, Chair of 999 Call for the NHS, said: “James is doing an amazing march and highlighting that the fight for the NHS is both a local and national issue.
“The reason we are losing so many local services and people cannot access care is due to long-term underfunding and orders from NHS England to restructure services along the lines of the USA system. James is right - nobody wants the American system over here.” That’s why we’re supporting him and we hope members of the public will do the same”
More details can be found on James Corbett’s Facebook Page www.facebook.com/Save-the-NHS-Protest-Walk-to-Parliament-1073704066162244/ and he hopes the public will add their names to his petition at http://bit.ly/400miles2SaveNHSa
See also JamesNHSWalk.org