HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be visiting Stroud General Hospital this afternoon, and a number of campaign groups have arranged a rally to greet him on his arrival.

Campaigners from Stroud Against the Cuts, Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public and other groups plan to rally at Stroud Hospital from 1pm to greet Hunt with their questions and concerns.

Members of the Hands Off Lydney and Dilke hospitals campaign – currently planning legal action against plans to close the hospitals – will also attend.

Health Secretary's car pelted with flour in Stroud

Expressing surprise that Mr Hunt would want to visit Stroud – a town known for successful campaigns to save the local maternity unit and prevent privatisation of community health services - campaigners say they are keen to ask Hunt about a number of local issues of concern.

Additionally social media activity suggests that the turn out of protestors could top 100.

NHS campaigner with Stroud Against the Cuts, Caroline Molloy said: “Next month Jeremy Hunt will become the longest serving Health Secretary – there’s noone else that he can blame for the crisis in the NHS that’s occurring under his watch.

"Hunt has recently watered down or scrapped targets for timely NHS treatment – thousands of patients in Gloucestershire and hundreds of thousands around the country see their conditions worsen while they wait.

Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts, James Beacher, said: “We’ve had enough Hunt’s lies – the cuts, closures, the privatisation.

"We don’t want Hunt coming here to pose for photo opportunities and pretending he cares when the reality is that with him as Health Secretary the NHS has experienced its worst ever funding squeeze."

Recently the Health Secretary warned that after the “most challenging” winter for many years there is “no doubt” about the pressures the service is under.

In a letter, Mr Hunt said he has already begun meeting groups of MPs to talk about reforms but appealed for others to come forward with ideas.

Mr Hunt said health and social care must be “properly joined up” and cannot be dealt with in isolation.

Hunt wrote: “As our preparations for this plan continue, and ahead of the NHS’s 70th birthday this summer, I would be very grateful to hear the views of colleagues.

“From all the dialogue and debate we have had since I undertook this role in 2012, I know how committed and passionate you are for the future and quality of our NHS, and how much you have to contribute to the government’s approach.”

The Health Secretary has previously admitted that the NHS endured its “worst ever” winter following “very high levels of demand”.

Following the most severe flu season in seven years, along with high rates of norovirus, meant that 5,000 beds a day were needed to care for people with the illness, according to NHS England.