NHS Jarrow March  in Trafalgar Square- September 2014
The Jarrow Marchers and supporters rally in Trafalgar Square in London after a 300 mile journey. The march was organised to protest against the UK government's plans to privatise NHS services.Twitter: Dr Eoin Clarke

A group protestors and campaigners arrived in London today, after a 300-mile march to protest the privatisation of the UK's public health services.

Campaigners on the 'People's March for the NHS' will be joined by thousands of health service activists and trade unionists in central London today to welcome them in Trafalgar Square at 4pm on Saturday afternoon.

The rally – a protest against the government's policy of ramping up the provision of NHS services by private providers – is the culmination of the People's March. The march began in Darlington in mid-August and has seen six women, known as the 'Darlo Mums', demonstrate by following in the footsteps of the hunger strikers of the 1936 Jarrow Crusade.

The protest has taken in more than 20 towns and cities, with union activists and other supporters joining the Darlington women.

Thousands more will take to the streets of London to protest before gathering in Trafalgar Square to hear speeches from Labour politicians including Sadiq Khan, and activists including Owen Jones.

Protestors will hand in a petition with thousands of signatures to Downing Street later in the day.

Speaking ahead of the rally health secretary Andy Burnham said the Darlo Mums symbolise the concern felt by millions across the UK for the future of the NHS.

Mr Burnham, who will address the crowd at Trafalgar Square, said: "Surely even the great Nye Bevan couldn't have imagined a group with more faith and fight for his NHS than these Darlington mums.

"In them, David Cameron has more than met his match and their fighting spirit will give hope to people everywhere that the NHS can be rescued from the damage caused by his government."

Speaking at the rally, Mr Burnham said Labour would repeal the Coalition's Health and Social Care Act, the legislation that NHS campaigners say opened the door for the increase in private companies offering healthcare services.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "There is absolutely no government policy to privatise NHS services. We have been clear that the NHS will continue to be free at the point of use for generations to come, with patients getting the very best treatment – regardless of who provides it."

"Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only 6% of the total NHS budget – an increase of just 1% since May 2010. Charities, social enterprises and other healthcare providers continue to play an important role for the NHS, as they have done for many years."