UK Uncut occupy Westminster bridge in protest at the intended abolition of the NHS by the ConDem – Conservative and Liberal-Democrat (Conservative) – coalition government.
- Conservative election poster 2010
A few recent news articles about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
An army of anti-cuts activists occupied London’s Westminster Bridge today for a last-ditch battle to stop the government’s NHS reforms.
Tax avoidance activists UK Uncut led thousands of health workers, pensioners and students who swept onto the bridge for a mass sit-in symbolically located between the Houses of Parliament and the St Thomas hospital across the Thames.
The Block The Bridge, Block The Bill protest took place on the eve a critical House of Lords vote on the Health and Social Care Bill which will hand power to GP consortia and allow private providers into the service en masse.
Tory ministers claim the plans will slash health-care overheads.
But NHS campaigners warn that they will spell the beginning of the end of a state National Health Service.
Public Health for Cumbria director and former UK Public Health Association chairman Dr John Ashton, who joined the protests, said there was real anger across the NHS at the threat to this most cherished public institution.
“This confused and convoluted Bill threatens to undermine the guarantee of health security irrespective of position or wealth and, at the same time, creates the conditions for private health-care companies to come in and cherry-pick profitable parts of care,” he said.
“I am proud that public health specialists have been able to give voice to this anger over the past few days, an anger which has no political boundaries!”
Civil Service union PCS leader Mark Serwotka said that the Bill represents the “gravest threat to the NHS” since its foundation.
“Peaceful protest and civil disobedience have a long and proud history in this country, and are a perfectly legitimate response to plans that no-one voted for and no-one wants,” he said.
“This protest will send an important message of support to the brilliant doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who work day in, day out to make our health service the envy of the world, and an equally important message of opposition to a Tory-led government trying to unpick all of this.”
Related: Protesters against NHS reforms occupy Westminster Bridge | Politics | guardian.co.uk BBC News – NHS reform protesters block Westminster Bridge We won’t take this lying down: Thousands of demonstrators force Westminster Bridge to close with protest over Government health reforms | Mail Online
A community hospital in Cornwall has closed its doors to fresh admissions less than a week after it passed from the NHS into private hands.
Poltair Hospital, near Penzance, was forced into the temporary move by shortages caused by the resignation of a member of the nursing team and staff illness.
The unit is one of 14 community hospitals in the county which exactly a week ago was taken over by Peninsula Community Health (PCH), a community interest company outside the NHS.
MP Andrew George, in whose St Ives consistency Poltair Hospital lies, said he was very disturbed by the development.
“This is not a very good start.
“I hope it is the community in whose interest this company is operating.
“To be a success, it has to be transparent and work with the community.”
Mr George, a member of the Commons Health Select Committee who campaigned against the transfer, added that it would not build confidence.
Kevin Baber, Chief Executive of PCH, a not-for-profit company, said the closure for new admissions was a purely temporary measure.
He said all the beds in the hospital were occupied, but until gaps in staffing were resolved, vacancies created when patients were discharged would not be filled.