GPs protest on streets of East End to support public service workers’ strike

Doctors and NHS workers are taking to the streets in London’s East End at lunchtime in support of today’s national one-day public services strike.

Health staff, GPs and patients from practices across Tower Hamlets are demonstrating “solidarity with teachers and public service workers.”

Four leading GP practices have organised the protests at Limehouse, Stepney, Poplar and Bow.

“We are not on strike today,” a joint statement points out.

“But we are protesting here on the ‘faultline’ between the extreme wealth of Canary Wharf and the poverty of most of the East End against the damaging effects of public policy on health and wellbeing.

“Our pensions too are under attack, State support for the elderly is driving them into increasing poverty and benefits are being severely cut back—while we can look up at the towering banks and multi-nationals where a pension in millions is not unusual.”

The NHS campaigners are also protesting at “relentless pressure from the Government to privatise public services for profit, promoting competition not cooperation.”

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Dr Anna Livingstone who runs the Limehouase clinic—in the shadow of Canary Wharf—said: “Bankers’ greed and the recession are not the fault of local people. The economy needs to be rebuilt by providing services and jobs—not cutting them.”

The protest also marks the 63rd anniversary next Tuesday of the founding of the NHS in 1948 and is aimed at opposing the Health & Social Care bill going through Parliament which campaigners say “threatens the basis of the National Health Service.”

The Limehouse Practice demonstration is being staged between 1.30 and 2pm at the Commercial Road junction with Burdett Road.

Other protests are planned by Stepney’s Jubilee Practice in Commercial Road at 12.45pm, Poplar’s Chrisp Street Clinic at 1pm and Bow’s St Stephen’s practice at Gladstone Place, off Roman Road Market, at 1.15pm.

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