HAVING been unable to get to the march in London to show my support for a publicly funded, publicly owned NHS, it was inspiring to see so many people turn up in Stroud to uphold our NHS.

An ageing population has led to increased demand on our health service and on care for the elderly outside hospitals.

Privatisation and contracting out of services are not the answer.

They just lead to increased bureaucracy and profits being taken from the system.

We must have a properly funded public health service that is accessible and free to all.

We need an NHS system that offers comprehensive, universal care on the basis of need, not ability to pay, but it appears that the government is making political choices to under-fund the NHS, to close and privatise services and to reduce our access to healthcare.

The NHS is facing a £22 billion funding gap, with demand for care set to rise four per cent a year, while health service’s budgets will go up by only 0.2 per cent every year between now and 2020.

The government says it does not have the money to fund a public funded NHS.

But this is not true.

We are the fifth richest country in the world.

We have the money to stop our health service turning into a humanitarian crisis and to care for people when they grow old, in hospitals, the community and homes.

We have the money for a fully funded public health service.

If Theresa May is to keep her promise to work for all, not just the privileged few, she must not let the NHS and social care crumble on her watch.

Eva Ward

Green Party county council candidate for Stroud Central