CAMPAIGNERS fighting the decision to allow a private company to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital for profit are holding a public ballot as well as organising a demonstration.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the decision to allow a private company to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital for profit are holding a public ballot as well as organising a demonstration.

They say they are on course for a major demonstration in Huntingdon on Saturday, July 10 and that people have been queuing to sign their petition.

Supporters of the demonstration include Cambridgeshire Against the Cuts, Keep Our NHS Public and UNISON Eastern Region.

Meanwhile, The East of England Strategic Health Authority has now given a date for a public meeting in St Ives on the issue. Both St Ives and St Neots were initially overlooked for public meetings, until Hunts Post readers complained. The St Ives meeting will be at the St Ives Corn Exchange on Thursday, September 23 - just a month before the company to run the hospital will be appointed. The St Neots meeting will be at Winhills School,off Duck Lane on Monday, July 19 at 6pm.

As previously reported by The Hunts Post, one of the three current bidders for the franchise to run the hospital, will be appointed in October, to take over in May.

None of them: Serco, Circle Health or Ramsay Health Care (no connection with Ramsey in Cambridgeshire) has any experience of running a general hospital in the UK - they have no experience of running maternity and A&E 
services here.

Secretary of Huntingdon and St Neots Trades Council, Steve Sweeney said: "The response from the public has been phenomenal. We have had people queuing to sign our petition, we have well over 1,000 signatures. People can sign at stalls in Huntingdon town centre on Saturday and in St Ives town centre over the carnival weekend

"We will also be holding a 'People's Ballot' where people will be able to cast a vote over the issue of the privatisation in Huntingdon and St Ives over the same period. This is to inject some democracy into the process. We believe NHS hospitals should be publicly funded, owned and run.

"I have spoken to workers from the hospital opposed to the proposals to privatise the management of the hospital but who are afraid to speak out.

"Hinchingbrooke could be the tip of the iceberg for the NHS."

The next public meetings on the hospital franchise will be on Monday, July 5 at 2pm at the Assembly Rooms at Hinchingbrooke House, Brampton Road in Huntingdon and Wednesday, July 7 at Fenland Hall, County Road, March at 6pm.

INFORMATION: The demonstration will meet at noon in Riverside Park, Huntingdon, leaving at 1pm. See: www.huntingdonand
stneotstradescouncil.blogspot.com