CAMPAIGNERS from South Warwickshire Keep our NHS Public (SWKNP) demonstrated in Leamington as the controversial Health and Care Bill was debated in Parliament this week.
The Bill aims to create a more integrated health and social care system, bringing together local NHS and councils so services for social care, mental health and public health advice work together more efficiently.
But NHS campaigners claim the Bill will increase the private sector’s involvement in the NHS and have called for the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid to withdraw the legislation.
At the event outside the town hall, activists handed out leaflets describing government intentions to break up the NHS into 42 separate Integrated Care Systems as a ‘smokescreen’.
SWKNP secretary Anna Pollert said: “The government clapped for our NHS heroes last year, but now offers them a paltry three per cent pay rise.
“After a decade of below inflation pay deals, staff are around 15 per cent worse off and are exhausted and demoralised.
“There are around 100,000 staff vacancies in the NHS. This Bill does nothing to attract and retain staff.
“If this Bill is passed, all of us will be impacted – there will be more privatisation, more cuts, more cronyism. It will not solve the waiting lists, the staff shortages and ambulance waits, which are the direct result of ten years of government cuts and austerity. It’s a major threat to the future of the NHS and we’re demonstrating to inform the public about the dangers.”