Protestors heckle health minister Andrew Lansley at Royal Free Hospital
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley was heckled by angry protestors as he visited the Royal Free Hospital on the eve of a Parliamentary debate on the controversial health reforms.
Local press were stopped from attending the scheduled ministerial visit on Monday afternoon (March 5), but a group of protestors stormed the building and challenged the secretary of state in the corridor.
Among them was Dr Ron Singer, who was captured on video shouting: “I’m a doctor of thirty years Mr Lansley. Explain to me how this is going to make patients better, because no one understands your bill.
“It is poorly drafted and now people are even making amendments, because the bill is rubbish and you know it.”
Dr Singer, who worked as a GP for 30 years, told the Ham&High: “He was surrounded by police and security and just pushed us all the out of the way with his nose in the air.
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“He thinks people who disagree with him are totally irrelevant whether they the public or health workers. They are going to do what they decided to do regardless of anyone’s opinion.”
The GP was joined by protestor June Hautot, branding a sign reading ‘Stop the Codswallop’. She hit the headlines last month when she angrily confronted Mr Lansley outside a cabinet meeting.
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Paul Mackney, a Royal Free patient who credits the hospital’s doctors with saving his life after he suffered a heart attack seven years ago, was also at the demonstration.
Waving a placard which read ‘The Royal Free saved my life, Don’t let Lansley kill the NHS’, Mr Mackney, 61, said the fight was “personal”.
The father-of-two from Wilton Road, Muswell Hill, said: “The day when Putin’s democratic practices are being called into question, the government is sneaking the health secretary into a hospital.
“I’m very concerned about the health bill. Whatever they say it is the first step towards privatisation of the health service.
“I remember my mother and father saying that the one good thing that came out of the Second World War was the NHS. The memorial for the people who died was the welfare state.”
Mr Lansley was announcing �6million for the hospital’s interventional radiology and cardiology unit.
The Royal Free hospital would not comment on the protest, but a Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The NHS is a matter for passionate debate. Ministers are used to meeting protesters on their travels and take that in their stride.”