East End GPs refusing non-emergencies in Tower Hamlets NHS protest

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 June 2012 | UPDATED: 07:49 25 June 2012

Doctors are taking industrial action at GP surgeries in London’s East End tomorrow (Thurs) in protest at cuts in NHS pensions.

They are holding a mass rally in Whitechapel outside the old Royal London Hospital at 1pm to voice opposition to the cuts and the new Health and Social Care Act they say could destroy the NHS.

Surgeries and clinics are refusing to carry out all routine and non-emergency appointments.

But patients will be seen for emergencies, doctors have promised.

The action has been orchestrated by the British Medical Association’s Tower Hamlets section in support of the public service workers’ campaign against pension cuts.

“We are taking action for the first time in 30 years,” said the association’s Tower Hamlets chair, Dr Jackie Applebee.

“But patients are safe—doctors will be at work, not on strike.

“As a protest, we won’t do routine work we can put off.”

Members of the BMA, the doctors’ union, voted to take action on NHS pensions and to stop moves they claim the government is taking to privatise the NHS.

“All NHS workers are being told to pay more for their pensions and work longer,” Dr Applebee added. “They are working harder than ever with cutbacks and don’t deserve this.”

The NHS pension fund is £2 billion in surplus, campaigners point out, which “belongs to workers who have paid for it all their working lives.” Campaigners claim the government is dipping into the pensions fund to get out of debt.

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