Witney Green Party candidate Larry Sanders announced today that he will be conducting a 30 hour fast from 10am tomorrow. The number of hours symbolises the £30 billion shortfall that there would be in the NHS budget without additional resources. Larry said that he feared that people do not understand how disastrous these cuts will be:
"I am hoping to focus attention as part of what will be a very long term struggle to save the NHS."
The NHS will face unprecedented funding shortfalls over the next five years that will severely damage local services. An extra £30 billion is needed by 2020/21 to maintain current services and the NHS is expected to make up the difference with large reductions to its budget.
In the Witney constituency the Deer Park GP Surgery is scheduled to close. In Oxfordshire the Horton and Witney hospitals services have been reduced, and the Chipping Norton Hospital has been downgraded in size and function. Already, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has floated the idea of closing all nine Oxfordshire Community Hospitals and has begun to close GP surgeries. This is just the beginning.
Larry says: "The Green Party will need to fight tooth and nail to save the NHS. Defeat will mean death and suffering. We must engage that overwhelming part of the country that wants and needs a good quality public NHS."
Larry will be going about his normal campaigning during the fast, and invites everyone to a candlelight vigil at Market Square, Witney, on Tuesday evening at 7pm.