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Andrew Lansley is humiliated as hate for health bill grows

Issue No. 2291

Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley was accosted outside Downing Street on Monday of this week.

Lansley was trying to get into a government summit on the Health and Social Care Bill.

Some of the main organisations representing doctors and nurses were excluded.

But June Hautot stopped him as he fought his way through an angry protest against the bill.

She told Lansley, “You can wait, like people are waiting for a bed now. And when it goes private we won’t have any beds.” June added, “I’ve had enough of you.”

There is mass opposition to the Tories’ plans to privatise the NHS. This is causing a growing crisis for the government.

Almost 150,000 people have called for the bill to be scrapped on the government’s official e‑petition website.

And organisations representing over a million NHS workers and health professionals have come out to oppose it.

Lansley and his cabinet colleagues have now tabled

137 amendments to the bill in the House of Lords. This, they say, proves that they are listening to people’s concerns.

But Professor Allyson Pollock and others have shown that even an amended bill would scrap a universal health service.

Their letter last week to the Lancet medical journal showed how new “commissioning groups” responsible for NHS services can choose who they will accept as patients.

Future health ministers will be expected to respect the “autonomy” of these groups—even at the expense of public health.

Three trusts in the west of England are already advertising for a managing director of commissioning support to “grow the business in an evolving market”.

The postholder will be paid at least £120,000 a year.

The Tory plans are sparking growing resistance. Cameron needed a police escort as he toured wards at the Royal Victoria Infirmary hospital in Newcastle on Wednesday of last week.

Unions have been slow to organise mass resistance. Yet health workers and others are starting to fight.

Jim Fagan from Waltham Forest Keep Our NHS Public said, “The anger out there is a taste of what could be done. We need protests outside the headquarters of private firms that are trying to steal our NHS.”

And unions are building for a TUC rally against the bill in Westminster in two weeks’ time. The Tories are on the rocks—and mass resistance can kill their bill.

Save our NHS—7 March, 6-7.30pm, Westminster Central Hall, London. For details go to www.goingtowork.org.uk/rally-to-save-our-nhs


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Tue 21 Feb 2012, 18:24 GMT
Issue No. 2291
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