Socialist Worker

Health campaigners target firms over privatising health bill

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2292

Protesters argue with attendees of the NHS privatisation conference in London  (Pic: Smallman )

Protesters argue with attendees of the NHS privatisation conference in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Campaigners held a noisy protest in central London this morning, Wednesday, against the Tories’ Health and Social Care Bill.

It was one of a series of protests against the hated bill.

The protesters targeted a meeting of firms that are looking to cash in from the bill, which will open up the health service to privatisation.

Cars, buses and lorries tooted in support as they passed, while cyclists gave protesters the thumbs up.

Becca, a student nurse at King’s College London, joined the demonstration. She told Socialist Worker, “It’s disgusting that companies are meeting even before the bill has been passed.

“It’s so anti-democratic because there’s no mandate for the bill. Everyone opposes it.”

Emma, another student nurse, added, “The bill will mean more market forces in the NHS. Care will be provided according to ability to pay rather than according to need.

“But cracks are appearing among those who backed it originally. So it seems that protests like this can make a difference.”

Activists chanted, “Kill the bill, it will make you ill,” and “Public health, not private wealth” outside the meeting.

Retired nurse Eileen Smith, another protester, said, “I worked in the health service all my life and I’m heartbroken by this bill.

“I remember life before the NHS. When you went to the doctors you had to pay. It meant there was a lot of stress if there was any illness in a family.

“If hospitals have to take more private patients, everyone else will have to wait longer for their treatment. Competition makes services worse.”

Save our NHS, Wednesday 7 March. Lobby 1pm, rally 6pm, Westminster Central Hall, London SW1H 9NH

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Wed 29 Feb 2012, 11:32 GMT
Issue No. 2292
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