Camden doctors out in force for Save Our NHS protest rally against health bill

Doctors and health workers from Camden and Haringey are taking to the streets as part of a mass rally to protest against NHS reforms.

The Save Our NHS rally, organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), descended on Westminster today (Wednesday, March 7), where the bill is in its final stages of progress through the House of Lords. Members of Unison, the British Medical Association and thousands of individuals who will be affected by the reforms were out in force.

Candy Unwin, chairwoman of the Camden branch of the Keep Our NHS Public, said: “We have two weeks to save the NHS.

“The health bill is a serious attack on the NHS. It will open it to private companies who are interested in profit not patients.”

Under the Health and Social Care Bill primary care trusts and strategic health authorities will be replaced with new commissioning bodies to purchase healthcare services.

Opponents claim this will result in privatisation of the NHS.

John Lipetz, who lives in Parliament Court in Hampstead, worked for ten years as a primary care manager for the NHS and is co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public nationally.

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He marched on Parliament today (Wednesday, March 7) and joined a Hands Round St Thomas’ Hospital protest.

“We have to keep fighting,” he said. “If this bill goes through it would bring about total fragmentation of the NHS. “We have the highest record for equity in the world which means regardless of your income you can get treatment. “We must fight to save that.”

Labour has opposed to the bill and the Liberal Democrats have threatened rebellion at their spring conference later this week.

Until now 100 amendments have been made and most recently it was agreed that the Competition Commission, which normally deals with business, will review competition between providers within the health service.

Nonetheless critics have dismissed the amendments as political posturing.

Tony Marshall, 65, who lives in Highgate West Hill, a spokesman for Camden Keep Our NHS Public, said: “The amendments are minor and will make no difference.

“They are only ploys by Cameron to make people think he’s listening when he’s not.

“The fact is that opposition is growing to the bill and we think it should be scrapped entirely.”