Havering health workers to rally over NHS proposed reforms

Health campaigners across Havering took part in a rally to try to save the NHS.

More than 2,000 nurses, healthcare workers, medics and members of the public are expected to be taking part in the TUC-organised national rally in London on Wednesday for the All Together for the NHS campaign.

They are planning to lobby Parliament and will be meeting MPS about changes to the health care system, which will see Primary Care Trusts scrapped and control given to GPs instead.

The changes are proposed under the new Health and Social Care Bill. Campaigners argue that the changes will put more pressure on the NHS, and will make room for more private companies getting involved, eventually leading to the breakdown of the NHS.

Local members are meeting at Romford train station at 5pm today (Wednesday) to travel to the rally.

It will involve speeches from health workers, union leaders and health service users.

A spokeswoman for Unison said: “We have campaigned from the start about the Health and Social Care Bill and believe it will lead to people who can’t afford to pay (for healthcare) being at the end of long queues waiting.

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“The Government will take the cap off the number of private patients that the hospitals can treat, and hospitals that are shot of funds will look at private patients.

“Other patients will find themselves waiting longer and not necessarily for the hospitals that they want to go to.”

TUC’s General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Despite various amendments, the bill remains hugely unpopular with NHS employees and patients, who have major concerns over the effect the draft legislation will have on healthcare by pushing through competition and markets on to the NHS, and by allowing the private sector to take over delivering NHS services.

“Unions, health workers and patients fear that an NHS based on competition will fragment the health service, worsen the care available and mean continued uncertainty for NHS employees.”