CAMPAIGNERS and health-workers from Stroud Against the Cuts will travel to David Cameron's Witney constituency to protest against what they say is the 'privatisation' of the NHS.

The protest - which will also mark the 65th birthday of the NHS - comes after concerns about changes to the night-time A&E services in Cheltenham and the privatisation of Gloucestershire's non-emergency ambulance services, which are to be run by transport company Arriva.

From August, the ambulance service will no longer drop off patients at Cheltenham General Hospital between 8pm and 8am.

They will be taken to Gloucestershire Royal instead.

Caroline Molloy, from SATC, said: "No one wants NHS services privatised, 96 per cent of the Gloucestershire public voted against it last year.

"But too many people don't realise that the NHS is being sold off to private companies because they often hide behind an NHS logo.

"The NHS is getting the blame when patient care suffers but this is happening because of privatisation."

Two doctors will run through the night from Parliament to Witney wearing Cameron and Clegg masks and dressed as undertakers on Saturday, July 6.

The will lead a hearse and bury a symbolic coffin before speaking with others on how they intend to resurrect the NHS.

SATC will also hand over a £800 cheque to national campaign organisation Keep Our NHS Public.

James Beecher, from SATC, said: "It is encouraging to see the growing fightback we and other anti-cuts groups in Gloucestershire helped inspire.

"I urge people to get involved in the campaign to defend our publicly-owned, publicly-accountable NHS.

"Access to healthcare for all, that is not dependent on the ability to pay, is as important now as it ever was."

Commenting on the changes at Cheltenham A&E department, emergency medicine consultant, Dr Tom Llewellyn, said: "Our priority is to ensure that the sickest patients are seen by very skilled specialist staff when they need to be.

"The proposals were developed for service quality and safety related reasons, which includes the availability of experienced emergency medicine doctors."

Commenting on Arriva's contract, chairman of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Miller said: "We want to ensure that patients who are eligible can access the very best service which can meet their specific medical and mobility needs.

"We want them to experience safe, timely, clean and comfortable transport."