The Government has faced further opposition to its NHS reforms after campaigners staged a sit-down protest on Westminster Bridge in central London.
Approximately 2,000 health workers and activists attended UK Uncut’s ‘Block the Bridge, Block the Bill’ demonstration ahead of the Health and Social Care Bill’s debate in the House of Lords this week.
UK Uncut said: “If we want to save our NHS we need to shout as loud as we can. No-one voted for this Bill, but together we can stop it.”
The bridge, which links St Thomas’s hospital on the southern bank with the Houses of Parliament, was closed to traffic for the event until late afternoon.
Mark Arnold, a UK Uncut spokesman, said the protest had been effective and there was a “happy, party atmosphere” among those who attended.
The sit-down protest featured many demonstrators wearing hospital scrubs and bandages with fake blood.
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said he hoped the protest would support the healthcare workers who “make our health service the envy of the world”.
The Government said the NHS reforms would give patients and doctors more choice, while encouraging the health service to focus on results, but has come up against various forms of criticism, including from the BMA, who said that the plans “pose an unacceptably high risk to the NHS in England”.
However, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley continues to back the Government’s reforms, claiming them to be “the right thing to do” for a better NHS.