Drop the Bill rally in Southampton – this Thursday!

“I call on the Government to drop the Health and Social Care Bill”The speakers for Southampton’s Drop the Bill event on Thursday have now been confirmed.

The event will take place at 7.30pm, on March 1st 2012, in the Sir James Matthews Building, Southampton Solent University. 

The event will be an opportunity for all those in Southampton who are against the Health Bill, currently making its way through the House of Lords, to come together and listen to the organisations who have publicly spoken out against the Bill in its current form.

The speakers will be:

John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen

John has consistently voted against the Health Bill in Parliament.  The Labour Party is the only major UK political Party to publicly oppose the Bill in its current form.  Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, recently told the Prime Minister in the House of Commons: “The problem with this Prime Minister is that on the NHS he thinks that he is right and everyone else is wrong. It has become a symbol not of how his party has changed but of his arrogance. I tell him this: this will become his poll tax. He should listen to the public and drop the Bill.”

John says:

“This Health Bill isn’t fair and isn’t right.  The Government should scrap the whole thing and start again.  It is my belief – and indeed the thoughts of most healthcare professionals and most of the public – that the NHS should stay free for all and open to all.  We have very serious concerns about this Bill and that is why I am holding this event, so that people from Southampton can send a message to the Government”

Alan Whitehead MP (Chair)

Alan is the Labour MP for Southampton Test.  He has consistently voted against the Health Bill in Parliament.  Alan will be chairing this event.  As well as hearing contributions from speakers representing vast numbers of health professionals, members of the audience will be able to voice their views and ask the panel questions.  Alan says:

“It’s worrying to see how cavalier the government is being to those who oppose these reforms. Not only are Healthcare professionals, associations and patients against this dangerous policy, but increasingly the general public. We will be holding a rally with a range of healthcare experts from across Southampton and Hampshire who are all calling on the government to Drop the Bill and put patients and not profits first”

Dr Alex Freeman, British Medical Association (BMA)

Dr Freeman is a member of the BMA’s Council and the Chair of the BMA’s Organisation Committee.  Dr Freeman is also a Southampton GP.

Steve Brazier, Unison

Mr Brazier is the Regional Head of Health for Unison.  Unison represents 400,000 health members including nurses, student nurses, midwives, health visitors, healthcare assistants, paramedics, cleaners, porters, catering staff, medical secretaries, clerical and admin staff and scientific and technical staff.

Julian Hill, Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Mr Hill is the Acting Operational Manager for RCN South East.  RCN has a membership of over 410,000; representing registered nurses, midwives, health visitors, nursing students, health care assistants and nurse cadets.  The RCN Chief Executive recently described the proposed changes as “creating such turmoil that they must be stopped”.

Rachael Maskell, Unite

Ms Maskell is Unite’s National Officer for Health.  Unite has over 100,000 members in the health service.  Unite have called for the Government to scrap the Bill, explaining that: “It will be better to stop the bill now, before more damage is done. For the ordinary members of the public, they will have to wait longer as private patients will be able to queue jump, and £80 billion of the NHS resources will drop into the hands of the private sector.”

Sean O’Sullivan, Royal College of Midwives

Mr O’Sullivan is Head of Policy for the RCM.  The RCM recently backed Ed Miliband’s call for the damaging Health Bill to be dropped: “If it goes ahead, there is a very real danger that the NHS will simply become a franchise with services being provided by a plethora of private companies with an eye on the bottom line and their shareholders.” (Louise Silverton, Deputy General Secretary, RCM).

Nicola Nixon, GMB

Ms Nixon is the NHS Officer for the South Coast.  The GMB have opposed the Bill from the start.  The GMB recently stated to its membership of 60,000 health sector works: Cameron says he is ‘carefully listening’ to critics of the Bill; he might be listening but he is ignoring what he is being told”.

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