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Protesters hand in anti-Health Bill petition to Carlisle MP's office

Half a dozen protesters demonstrated against the Government’s Health Bill outside the office of Carlisle MP John Stevenson yesterday.

Brent Kennedy photo
Brent Kennedy

They carried placards and banners with slogans such as ‘Save the NHS’ and ‘Stop the cuts – tax the rich’ and handed in a 500-signature petition demanding that the Government drops the Bill.

The petitioners believe it will lead to the break up and privatisation of the NHS.

Organiser Brent Kennedy, secretary of Carlisle Socialist Party, said: “There have been 164,000 signatures on an e-petition calling for debate on this.

“The Government are scared of having a debate in Parliament. They are definitely rattled.

“Only 18 per cent of the population supports the Government on this – the rest are against.”

He added: “These proposals weren’t in the Tory or Liberal Democrat election manifestos. [David] Cameron specifically said there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS.

“If they had told the truth, they wouldn’t have been elected.”

Conservative Mr Stevenson was not there to accept the petition.

But speaking from Westminster, he told the News & Star he supported the Government’s reforms.

He said: “It’s about modernising the NHS. We are committed to ensuring that it is free at the point of use and unrelated to the ability to pay.

“We have made a commitment there will be no cuts to the NHS during this Parliament.

“But we have to accept that the NHS needs to be reformed.

“We have to make it as efficient as we possibly can but the money saved through efficiencies goes back into the NHS.

“It isn’t spent on anything else.”

Mr Stevenson said the Bill would give clinicians, GPs and patients a greater say in how the NHS was run and would make the service more “patient-centric”.

He added: “Are we privatising it? Certainly not.”

Trades unions are planning a ‘day of action’ against the Bill next Wednesday.

There is likely to be a protest in Carlisle city centre but details have yet to be finalised.

Have your say

Tim, the last government would have made changes, no doubt, however, too much too fast as is happening does not make the electorate happy.

It's easy being in opposition and challenging government bills, the Coalition and the Prime Minister have to convince us that what they are doing is right,most medical professionals are not convinced neither am I.

Posted by Ian on 6 March 2012 at 09:08

Ian, how about all the people who supported the original pilot by the last government on which this is based?

This is jsut politicing, labour good, tory bad. Its the same idea, just rolled out across the country.

Posted by Tim on 5 March 2012 at 13:50

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