Patients join East End GPs' A13 traffic island demo over cuts
PUBLISHED: 20:40 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 11:08 01 July 2011
Nearly 40 doctors, patients and medical staff demonstrated on a traffic island on the busy A13 in London's East End to show support for today's national strike by public service workers.
Hundreds of drivers hooted and pedestrians shouted support as the banner-waving medics protested at the Commercial Road traffic lights (pictured).
A striking teacher had earlier given an impromptu talk to patients waiting for surgery at the practice in Limehouse about why public service workers were striking.
Many patients then joined the doctors’ lunchtime protest in the shadow of Canary Wharf when the teacher left to join the mass protest rally at Westminster.
“We decided to invite the teacher to explain why they were on strike because it affects many of out patients in the East End,” Dr Anna Livingstone who runs the practice told the East London Advertiser.
“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.”
Four East End GP practices organised the protest on a traffic island they called ‘the faultline’ between the extreme wealth of Canary Wharf and the poverty of most of the East End.
“We are not on strike today,” a joint statement pointed out. “But our pensions are also under attack, while 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 GPs’ protest also marked the 63rd anniversary next Tuesday of the founding of the NHS in 1948 and was aimed at highlighting their opposition to the Health & Social Care bill going through Parliament which they say “threatens the basis of the National Health Service.”