More than fourty people rallied outside the Leeds Civic Hall on Saturday 14th May to show their opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and the so-called Lansley Bill. The demo was attended by a mix of medical students, NHS workers and campaigners as well as local television press and after gathering in Millennium square proceeded to march through Leeds city centre to meet up with supporters of Leeds Against the Cuts.
David Stewart, Leeds City Socialist Party
The demonstration came amongst mounting criticism of the government’s plans to open the provision of some services to private contractors, in what is seen by many as the first move toward the full privatisation of the NHS. Fears which seemed to be confirmed by calls from voices within government that the NHS should be shown “no mercy” in the face of reforms, which the Health Minister Andrew Lansley touts as making the health service more efficient by opening it up to the forces of the free market. But suspicions are mounting that the real motive behind the reforms is that of profit.
Saturday’s protest was a first step in uniting opposition to the planned reforms, raising public awareness of the threat faced by the NHS and building toward the planned march on May 28th from St James’ Hospital to the Leeds General Infirmary.