East End GPs to walk-out in TUC Public Sector workers’ day of action

GPs across the East End are joining the TUC day of protest with medical and other public sector workers tomorrow (Wed).

Some surgeries will be providing emergency cover only during the protests, with doctors joining a mass rally in central London.

The GPs say they are defending what they see is a government attack on the NHS in deprived areas like the East End, with the Health and Social Care Bill now before Parliament.

“The NHS as we know it will cease to exist if the bill is passed,” said Tower Hamlets GP Forum Chair Dr Jackie Applebee.

“Private companies-for-profit will be in the driving seat. We will be heading towards a health care system like the US where people are left to die if they cannot afford health insurance.”

Protests begin from early morning, when health visitors, district nurses and psychologists picket from 7.45 to 9.30am outside St Peter’s health centre in Wapping, Mile End Hospital and Poplar’s Chrisp Street centre which is providing emergency cover only. Poplar’s Aberfeldy Practice is also going on emergency cover only when staff join the protests.

Doctors and staff at Bow’s Harley Grove and St Stephen’s surgeries and the Tredegar Practice protest at 8.15am in Bow Road with staff from Phoenix School.

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GPs at the Limehouse Practice and the Gill Street health centre protest from 9am to 10am with their staff at the of Burdett Road junction with Commercial Road and East India Dock Road. The Limehouse Practice is providing emergency cover only.

Doctors at Health E1 for the Homeless in Brick Lane join the protests and are providing emergency cover only. The Jubilee Street Practice in Stepney closes at lunchtime.

GPs and medical workers are gathering outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel at 10.30am to travel to Holborn for a rally in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

The Royal College of Midwives is encouraging its members to support the TUC protests and is threatening to hold a strike ballot, although not taking direct action.

Its employment relations director Jon Skewes said: “If significant improvements to the existing pension proposals are not negotiated in good faith, we will be forced to ballot our members early in the New Year.

“The threats and bullying of government ministers may backfire if this pushes non-striking organisations such as the Royal College to ballot on industrial action.

“The government will ignore the depth of anger at their peril.”

It is encouraging its members to take part in the Day of Action with other unions, after a recent survey of 6,000 midwives’ attitudes on pension changes found only nine per cent felt ‘valued’ by the government—most were upset and dissatisfied.