PRIVATISATION of the NHS was the biggest concern for Ross-on-Wye shoppers, the Labour party in south Herefordshire said.

Members of the Labour party held a stall in Ross at the Market Place to support The National Campaign Day for the NHS.

They held an opinion poll and encouraged residents to share their concerns on aspects of the health service, which resulted in 40 percent raising concerns about privatisation.

The second biggest concern was waiting times for treatment and operations (26 percent), followed by the Minor Injuries Unit and Community Hospital (18 percent) and access to GP appointments (14 percent).

Janice Hurne, vice chairwoman of Hereford & South Herefordshire Constituency Labour Party and chairwoman of Ross & District Labour Party Branch, said: "These results indicate that more local people are concerned about the effects of proposed changes to the NHS rather than access to local medical services such as those provided by GPs and the local hospital."

Gary Marlowe, a GP based in London but living in Ross was available at the stall to talk to people.

He highlighted the problem of the shortage of NHS staff at all levels, leading to high staff sickness and high staff resignation numbers.

There were 87,964 vacant full-time posts across the NHS, with 40 percent in nursing, as reported in The Independent.

Ms Hurne added: "Threatened closure of Rehabilitation Centres such as Hillside Rehabilitation Centre in Redhill, Hereford, puts pressure on hospitals and increases the need for social care support and treatments at home by district nurses."

The stallholders also held a successful collection for the town's Community Larder.