Protesters stage demonstration outside Wigan Infirmary

Around 60 people turned out to a peaceful demonstration against NHS privatisation outside Wigan Infirmary at the weekend.

The protest, organised by the Wigan, Leigh and Makerfield “Momentum” group, saw people come from across the borough to support staff and highlight the growing NHS crisis.

Campaigner Andrew Birchall with the demonstrators on Wigan Lane

Campaigner Andrew Birchall with the demonstrators on Wigan Lane

Plans for the “emergency demo” were made late last week on a social media campaign group called “fighting for our NHS” but were met by strong criticism by borough residents who believed that the mass of people could add further pressure to the already-stretched hospital.

However, despite the backlash, the protest went ahead on Saturday morning - and organisers have branded the event as a “successful” meeting.

The campaigners held up signs with messages such as “Fund NHS not Virgin Care” and “Thank you to our NHS staff” and the group was met by resident doctors as well as hospital chief executive Andrew Foster, who thanked them for their support.

Lee Harrison, who demonstrated alongside more than 50 others, said: “Amazing what can be achieved by local action groups when they come together in just four days for a great cause.

“A morning when reports that A&E patients could be waiting up to 13 hours over this weekend and only a few weeks after reports of 17 hour waiting times hit over the festive period.

“Is this what we want for our grandparents, parents, children or grandchildren?

“There will be future events, but this was a locally decided emergency event.

“All who truly care for our NHS being a fully-funded public body are welcome.”