Health staff lobby over NHS reform

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Andrew Lansley's proposals have come under fierce criticism from unions and clinicians in recent weeks

Protesters opposed to the Government’s radical NHS reforms are to demonstrate outside Parliament as ministers begin a second debate on the controversial Health and Social Care Bill.

Health workers from up and down the country will carry estate agent signs bearing the message “NHS, Not for Sale”.

Andrew Lansley’s proposals, which centre around handing GPs £80 billion of the NHS budget and increasing the role of private companies in health provision, have come under fierce criticism from the unions and clinicians in recent weeks.

Unite is expected to present MPs with “new and forensic analysis” of the legislation before the second reading, amid claims that the coalition is “rushing through” the 280-clause Bill.

A recent survey revealed that only one in four people support doctors using private companies to provide NHS services.

The survey of almost 2,000 adults for public sector union Unison showed that half were opposed to the move, including 56% of Liberal Democrat voters.

Only 46% of Conservative voters supported private firms providing NHS services, with 22% registering a “don’t know” response.

The YouGov study also showed half of those surveyed were against GPs employing private management groups.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This Bill is heading for trouble. The YouGov poll shows a clear split between Lib Dem and Tory supporters. There is very weak support from Tory voters and clear opposition from Lib Dems.

“The fact is there is very little support for this Bill from anywhere. Many GPs are opposed to it, as are patients, NHS staff, clinicians, charities, think tanks, MPs and unions. The Government’s vanity project is undemocratic, unaffordable and unnecessary.”

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