Hackney Coalition to save the NHS launches

March Save The NHS demonstrators outside Whitehall

Demonstrators outside Whitehall. Photo: Laura Scheiter

Hospital workers, GPs, patient groups and local councillors from Hackney have come together in opposition to the threat posed to the health service by the government’s proposed “Health and Social Care Bill.”

After a launch in front of the Stamford Hill library yesterday, a meeting followed with speeches from Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP and Shadow Health Minister Diane Abbott, Hackney Keep Our NHS Public and a local GP.

The move comes after Hackney council passed a motion opposing the Health and Social Care Bill on the 4th of May, committing the council to the campaign and joining with local groups to oppose it.

Currently going through Parliament, the proposed bill will change the NHS significantly.

Similar to the way the US health service works, it will mean breaking up current services by allowing different private companies to profit from providing health services.

The group, whose members include Hackney GPs and workers from Homerton hospital as well as patient groups, trade unionists, local councillors and residents have come together to try to organise the greatest possible opposition to the bill as well as to warn Hackney residents of the dangers of such measures.

If these private companies go bust, they will not necessarily be bailed out by the Government, leaving the group concerned as to the future of local healthcare in such an instance.

The changes come as the Coalition Government are also instigating £20billion of “efficiency savings.”

Homerton Hospital will be particularly affected as it will be forced to make considerable staff cuts and restrictions in service as it is changed into a “foundation trust.”

The local doctors’ trade union, the City and Hackney BMA Division commented:

“This legislation will create a two tier American type health system where those who can afford it top-up with private health care whilst the poor and sick receive second rate treatment in a fragmented and shrunken public system. It will be the end of the NHS as we know it.”

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