CAMPAIGNERS took to Bromsgrove High Street last Friday to protest against the Government’s latest NHS Bill which they claim is another step towards privatising the National Health Service.
The protestors also gathered with placards outside the constituency office of Bromsgrove MP and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, calling on him to vote against the legislation currently going through parliament.
They say The Health and Care Bill will lead to a corporate takeover of the NHS as it would assist with allowing private healthcare companies to sit on NHS boards and make key decisions about the care patients receive.
In July, Mr Javid voted in support of the bill which comes back before the House of Commons in November.
More votes are expected before it becomes law and campaigners are hoping to build enough support against it to defeat the Government’s proposals.
Jude Byrne, a retired senior NHS professional from Bromsgrove, helped organise the protest.
She said: “If this bill succeeds, the NHS as we have known it will be gone as it allows private health care companies to make decisions about how our NHS is funded and run.
“This has been a long time in the planning by successive governments – underfunding, closing, downgrading hospitals and services forcing the NHS to struggle (pre-Covid) have all played a part in this bill which will allow private care companies to dive in and try and make a profit.
“No-one should try to profit from illness – it is inhuman.”
She expressed concerns many residents did not know much about the bill as ‘while the NHS was still free at the point of delivery, the public did not believe it’.
The protest – and wider nationwide action – is aimed at garnering support for a new deal which calls for a fully-funded non-profit truly public NHS.
Ms Byrne urged residents – as his constituents – to write to Mr Javid, urging him to vote against the bill.
The Government has always said the bill would be good for the NHS and its future.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The NHS is not and never will be for sale, and the Health and Care Bill does not in any way affect the principle of free NHS care.
“The bill builds on the NHS’ own proposals for reform and gives the NHS more power, not less.
“It will support a health and care system which is less bureaucratic, more accountable, and more integrated in the wake of the pandemic.”