Protesters stage NHS rally at Poplar in campaign to stop Health Bill

Protesters hold a Saturday rally in London’s East End tomorrow as part of a campaign by doctors and trade unionists to stop the government’s Health & Social Care Bill they fear will destroy the NHS.

They plan to tour the streets collecting signatures for a mass petition to Downing Street after the 12.15pm rally at Poplar’s Chrisp Street Market, off the East India Dock Road.

It’s the second time protesters have held a rally at Chrisp Street in five months involving NHS doctors.

Tower Hamlets Council’s Labour Group health member Rachael Saunders said: “The NHS reorganisation is unnecessary, unwanted and damaging and means massive upheaval for the East End—we will fight to keep local health services and fight to save the NHS.”

Campaign stalls are being set up in Chrisp Street, Whitechapel Market, Shadwell’s Watney Market and outside Tesco’s Bethnal Green store.

Bethnal Green’s MP Rushanara Ali plans to join protesters at Whitechapel, having urged Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in the Commons on Tuesday to abandon the Bill.

Concern is also being raised over the planned merger of services at three major hospitals in East London—the Royal London, Newham General and Whipps Cross.

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GPs from Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney have written to David Cameron demanding he drops the Bill. They include Dr Sam Everington, a government health advisor and key player in Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, and Dr Clare Highton who chairs City & Hackney Commissioning Group who said the Bill would damage the NHS “beyond recognition.”