An internet campaign opposing proposed NHS reforms is quickly gathering support across the UK, and in east London in particular.
The Save Our NHS site, which opposes the government’s Health and Social Care Bill, has received almost twenty thousand signatures in its first 48 hours alone.
Four of the top ten constituencies with the most signatures were in East London Line boroughs. Hackney North and Stoke Newington had the most signatories in the country, but there was also significant support from residents of Hackney South and Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Bow and Lewisham, Deptford.
The site allows users to fill in their name and address details and then signatures are automatically passed on to the MP of their constituency.
The Health and Social Care bill will give GPs a much greater say on how the NHS budget is spent, will release hospitals from central control and also create an independent board to oversee services.
The bill recently passed its second reading in the House of Commons, and has now gone to the Committee stage. MPs will vote again at the bill’s third reading after the Committee reports back.
Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: “The government is piling extra pressure on the NHS with its huge, high-cost reorganisation and by breaking the Prime Minister’s pledge to give the NHS a real rise in funding next year.
“We are only just beginning to get information on just how deep these cuts will be, and the changes to the health services in London are too costly, too far and too fast. It seems these cuts are going to hit some of our most prized communities the hardest.
“At a time when every single penny is needed to maintain jobs and standards of patient care, it is nothing short of a disgrace to spend up to £3bn on an unwanted political experiment with our NHS.”
Twitter users including comedian Armando Iannucci have come out in support of the petition, and the link to the site has now been re-tweeted over 21,000 times.
Chris Meachin from Save Our NHS said:
“We were inspired by the We Love the NHS Twitter campaign, and were frustrated that there didn’t seem to be a way for people to channel their objections to the proposed NHS reforms usefully. There are lots of excellent campaigns in support of the NHS, but we felt there was a need for something that had a real, tangible point.
“The rapid uptake of the campaign demonstrates that people feel frustrated and ignored on some big issues at the moment. If we don’t voice our objections collectively and constructively, then we have no right to complain when things don’t turn out as we hoped.”