PROTESTERS took to the streets of Southampton at the weekend in a bid to stop private companies from being involved in the NHS.

Members of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public Southampton protested at the pedestrian crossing at Bargate Street on Saturday.

This comes as the Health and Care Act is set to come into effect on July 1, splitting the NHS across England into 42 new bodies called Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

READ MORE: Oncologist working to cure cancer set to open Southampton's Race for Life

However, concerns surrounding the decision have been raised.

Campaigner Helen Field said the decision is “ill-thought through.”

She said: “People don’t realise there are large problems behind the scenes, and we want to raise awareness against the privatisation of the health service.

“We also want to make people aware of the lack of retention and recruitment of health care staff.

“We need funding for the health service as a lot of hospitals are falling to bits.”

Daily Echo: Campaigners including Helen Field, right, on Bargate Street on Saturday, June 11Campaigners including Helen Field, right, on Bargate Street on Saturday, June 11

The protest was part of a national day of action organised by We Own It and supported by Keep Our NHS Public and Unite Community.

Johnbosco Nwogbo, Lead Campaigner at We Own It, said: “Opening the boardroom doors to private companies who could stand to benefit financially from decisions made by the board about the healthcare available to people in Southampton looks bad and smells bad.

“NHS leaders must commit not to allow private companies to continue to have a role in our local NHS bodies.”

Campaigners spoke to the public on Saturday afternoon in a bid to put pressure on Lena Samuels, the new chair of the ICS board, to ban private companies from making decisions in the local NHS.

Daily Echo:

Helen said: “I feel people are not aware of the new legislation, so this is our way of getting the word out to people about it.

“We previously campaigned to try and stop it and also dealt with the House of Lords to put amendments in to stop them from putting private companies on the board.

“These companies care about profit, not people’s health.”

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't take my word for it - subscribe here to see for yourself.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by joining our Facebook group - Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated Facebook group - Hampshire Court and Crime News