Protestors to '˜encircle' the Leeds city centre hospital as they back NHS Bill

Health campaigners aim to 'encircle' Leeds General Infirmary on Thursday night in a symbolic protest against NHS privatisation.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 3:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 10:01 am
Leeds General Infirmary. Picture by rossparry.co.uk/ Steven Schofield.

The Leeds Keep Our NHS Public demonstration will see protestors surround the city centre hospital, holding hands and bunting, from 5pm to 7pm.

The protest will coincide with day two of the British Medical Association’s junior doctor strike and preempt the second reading of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas’ NHS Reinstatement Bill.

So far 77 MPs have backed the private members bill, which calls for the secretary of state’s responsibility for the health of UK citizens to be reinstated.

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Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. Picture by Chris Radburn/ PA Wire.

It is argued that the move, which would reverse changes made in the Health and Social Care Act 2012, would “restore the NHS as an accountable public service”.

A spokeswoman for the Leeds protest, which is one of several to take place across England, said: “We are challenging the Government’s spin that there is no alternative to dismantling our NHS and no way we can save it.”

Ms Lucas is calling on MPs to remain in Westminster to support her bill on Friday.

She said: “The NHS is saddled with a wasteful internal market, and increasingly widespread outsourcing of services. When you add this privatisation to the near-constant Government attacks on the NHS workforce you can see why so many people are supporting the NHS Bill.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. Picture by Chris Radburn/ PA Wire.