Press release: 81 year old protestor carried off by police during NHS bill roadblock

Press release: 81 year old protestor carried off by police during NHS bill roadblock protest.

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Today, as peers gathered to discuss amendments to Andrew Lansley’s controversial Health and Social Care bill, a group of 30 protesters made up of nurses, pensioners, medical students and anti-cuts campaigners blocked the road in front of the House of Lords. Police dragged protesters off the road, arresting one person for obstruction of the highway.

At 1.45pm, 30 protesters blocked the road, chaining and locking together and stopping both lanes of traffic. They demanded that the coalition’s failing Health and Social Care Bill, which they say will destroy the NHS, be scrapped entirely. The protesters wore medical scrubs and bloodied bandages and unfurled bedsheet banners calling for peers to ‘Kill the Bill – Save our NHS’. Shirley Murgraff, aged 81, was carried away by police [1] and 1 arrest was made.

Campaigners say if passed, in a few years time the NHS will be nothing more than ‘a brand name’, with profit-seeking multinational companies competing to provide most health services and the end of universal, equitable health care for all. The bill will see private patients treated at the expense of NHS patients, healthcare workers made redundant and reduce the priority of treating chronic and complex conditions. Today Lord Crisp former NHS boss declared the bill as being ” a mess ” and “unnecessary” [2]

81 year old pensioner Shirley Murgraff said as police dragged her from the road: ‘ This is a message to the Lords. This bill must be scrapped now. Cameron had no mandate. They are by-passing democracy. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the NHS. I remember a pre-NHS Britain. I don’t want to see a post-NHS one. We can’t just sit by and let them destroy our NHS.’

Nurse Gay Lee who was part of the protest today said ‘If this Bill goes through, by spring we may be digging a grave for the NHS, a beloved British institution and world class health service which for over 60 years has protected us from birth to death. I’m here today blocking the road because desperate times call for desperate measures. We must kill Lansley’s bill and save our NHS.’

UK Uncut supporter and London based health worker Jenny Miller said: ‘The real purpose of this Bill is to create a market in healthcare based on profit not need. All of us will be affected by this unless we are wealthy; this mustn’t be allowed to happen. Thousands of NHS workers are now losing their jobs whilst publicly-owned banks continue to pay out massive bonuses and the government continue to let tax-dodging corporations and the mega-rich off the hook’.

Matt Bryan, medical student said: ‘We all need the NHS. Healthcare should never be provided for profit, I think that is morally wrong. This our message to the Lords – to Lansley – to Cameron.: drop this dangerous, disasterous bill. If he refuses – this proves that this goverment is bad for Britain’s health’.