MORE than 100 health workers and patients rallied in Southampton last night against the radical reforms of the National Health Service.
The meeting, organised by Southampton Itchen MP John Denham, pictured top, saw key speakers from the unions Unison, Unite, GMB and professional associations including the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing.
Mr Denham told the full capacity meeting at Southampton Solent University: “I believe that so many different people have come forward to say this is the wrong way forward.
Let’s drop the Bill.”
The Government Health and Social Care Bill wants to open the NHS service up to greater competition from the private and voluntary sector.
GPs will also gain more control of their budgets.
But Steve Brazier, regional manager for Unison Hampshire, said: “We are very clear we want the Bill scrapped.”
Fellow speaker Rachel Maskell, from Unite, also condemned the reforms, describing them as the “NHS privatisation bill”.
In particular she condemned the move to encourage hospitals to treat more private patients, as it would mean NHS patients would go “to the back of the queue”.
Dr Alex Freeman, a member of the BMA council and a Southampton GP, also addressed the audience.
Although she supported greater control for GPs she said she had concerns about how the role of private companies could fragment the NHS.