Health workers protest over NHS cuts fears across at east London
PUBLISHED: 10:26 11 October 2013 | UPDATED: 14:09 11 October 2013
Almost 200 people, including health workers, took part in a protest about NHS cuts outside The Royal London Hospital on Tuesday.
Doctors, nurses and other health workers were joined by members of the public in a demonstration organised by Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public, Newham Save our NHS and We are Waltham Forest Save Our NHS, to demand that Barts Health, the Department of Health and the government protect NHS services, defend NHS workers and cancel the Private Finance Initiative.
The majority were staff from Barts Health across east London, nurses, doctors and others who joined the protest as they came out of work. They included GPs, staff from Queen Mary, students, trades unionists, and the local community.
People present took turns in speaking about their anger over being downgraded, long shifts, job cuts and the difficulties in surviving and offering a service to patients.
A spokeswoman for the campaign said the intention of the protest was to bring people together to highlight the crisis.
She said government cuts of £20 billion are being pushed through the NHS, labelled as ‘efficiency savings’, when services are already over stretched. Bart’s Health has to pay £129 million this year to the Private Finance Initiative consortium for the new Royal London Hospital alone, payments which over time will amount to many times the true cost.
She said, Bart’s Health Trust which now covers most of east London, including Barts, the Royal London, Newham General, Whipps Cross, the London Chest and Mile End Hospitals, as well as Tower Hamlets community health services, is losing about £2 million a week and services and staff are under threat from the plans for ‘financial recovery’.
A spokeswoman for Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “We have no plans to close any of our hospitals or cut services. Last year we invested over £100m in maintaining and developing the facilities at our hospitals – including the opening of new A&E and maternity facilities at Whipps Cross and Newham - to support high quality care.
“Over time, and only following full discussions with our commissioners and others, the location of certain services across the entire Trust may change if it allows us to remove areas of waste or duplication. We are currently looking at all the services we provide to identify these areas and improve productivity, efficiency and our patients’ experience.”
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