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Date: 2 November 2007

Scots go across the border to defend the NHS

Around 100 UNISON delegates from the union's health branches across Scotland are travelling to London today to take part in a major demonstration on 3 November to support the UK's NHS.

Planned and organised by the NHS Together alliance of unions, a broad coalition of user, patient and community groups and members of the public, the demonstration is to be the focus of a public display of celebration and solidarity for an NHS that after almost 60 years, is still largely owned and run by the public sector.

Widespread support for the event will send a strong message to the government that we want to keep it that way.

Tom Waterson, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Health Committee said, "Around 100 Scottish supporters have signed up to attend the big day in London. We are proud to march in support of NHS Scotland and the services our members deliver to Scottish communities. All UNISON Scotland members should try to make the Scottish voice a clear one on the day!"

The demonstration has a breadth of celebrity support including explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who said: "I love the NHS because they saved me from certain death following a massive heart attack.

"Also, when my wife of 36 years was terminally ill with cancer, the NHS Exeter, looked after her diligently and with expertise and patience."

Tamsin Greig, star of Channel 4's award-winning medical comedy Green Wing and Black Books, said she loved the NHS because it was "a unique and invaluable organisation that puts life first.

"It is a national treasure and should be valued and honoured as such," she added.

On 3 November NHS staff and supporters will gather at the Embankment and march to Trafalgar Square, where there will be music - from country-techno-funk outfit Alabama 3, who have rewritten the Sopranos theme tune - comedy and speeches. Supporters will gather on the Embankment from 11am. The march will set off at noon accompanied by music, stilt walkers and banners. The rally in Trafalgar Square will feature a lively mix of speeches, comedy and videos.


For Further Information Please Contact: Tom Waterson (Chair Scottish health group) 07753 627 575(m) John Gallacher (Regional Organiser) 07904 342 426 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0870 7777 006(w) 0771 558 3729(m)