Protesters mobilise in Tower Hamlets for support for NHS Westminster rally

Protesters have been campaigning in London’s East End to gather support for the big NHS rally due to be held at Westminster on Wednesday evening.

They ran campaign stalls on Saturday at street markets in Whitechapel, Bethnal Green, Shadwell and Poplar, gathering hundreds of signatures calling for the government’s Health & Social Care Bill now going through Parliament to be dropped.

The campaign began with an East End local rally at Poplar’s Chrisp Street market where MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali joined Tower Hamlets councillors to address the crowds.

Former Labour London minister Fitzpatrick, the Poplar & Limehouse MP, said: “Our doctors, nurses and hospital staff need to focus on protecting our services from cuts—not have to deal with the waste and bureaucracy this Bill will create.”

Tower Hamlets council’s Labour Opposition Health spokesman Rachael Saunders said: “We’ll continue fighting to oppose the changes that will damage our NHS.”

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Supporters queued in Saturday’s rain to sign the petition which is being added to a nationwide protest being sent to 10 Downing Street. Wednesday’s mass rally at Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall is protesting at drastic proposals in the Bill that many doctors fear will destroy the NHS.

MP Rushanara Ali said after Saturday’s East End rally: “GPs in Tower Hamlets were the first in the country to ask David Cameron to drop this damaging NHS Bill.

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“The Government needs to think again when even the GPs in Cameron’s own clinical commissioning groups warn of chaos, confusion and damage these changes will cause the NHS and the risks they pose to patients.”

East End GPs were the first to take a stand in demanding the Bill be dropped, including Dr Sam Everington, a government health advisor and key player in Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group.

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