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Founder of ‘drop the bill’ petition speaks in Sheffield

Dr. Kailash Chand speaking at Sharrow Community Forum yesterday

Dr. Kailash Chand OBE spoke at a Labour CLP meeting at Sharrow Community Forum yesterday evening. Dr. Chand founded the online petition ‘Drop the Health Bill’, which currently has 177,590 signatures. 

At the meeting he said that the NHS bill is “friendless” and told his audience that they had “lost the battle, but not the argument.”

Trust undermined

Dr. Chand said that the bill could have a destructive effect on the patient-doctor relationship.

He argued that the rationing of NHS resources for commercial gain rather than for clinical reasons could undermine the trust between doctors and their patients.

“There is no evidence that competition works in healthcare,” he said.

He was particularly critical of the Conservatives, saying that their official line on the bill is “nothing more than a smoke screen.”

“The Tories really are good as far as PR is concerned,” he said.

‘Democracy was failing’

After the meeting, Dr. Chand spoke with TGS News about his recent campaigning.

“I started because democracy was failing,” he said. “The government was not listening to the BMA, was not listening to royal colleges, was not listening to GPs and even patient groups.

“They were not even listening to their own party.”

He said that he wouldn’t mind the changes if he thought that privatisation would lead to better public health, but there is no evidence to support this.

“It’s totally ideological,” he said.

‘We will repeal the bill’

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, attended the talk.

He said that Dr. Chand “both outlined the challenges that we face as a result of this bill going through, but also motivated people by pointing out that there is still an opportunity to save the NHS from its worst impact.

“Even if we don’t force the Tories to, when Labour is reelected in 2015 we will repeal the bill,” he said.

Drop the Health Bill Petition

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Candlelit vigil for NHS outside Nick Clegg’s Sheffield office

Protesters outside Nick Clegg's Sheffield Office

A candlelit vigil was held outside Nick Clegg’s Sheffield office this evening in protest against the NHS Bill, which has just cleared it’s final reading in the House of Lords.

The bill will now return to the House of Commons where MP’s will consider any suggested amendments to the legislation.

The vigil lasted 45 minutes from 8:00 pm to 8:45 pm and was attended by approximately 65 people, including NHS workers.

Clegg ‘a disgrace’

At 7:55 pm, there were 16 protesters gathered outside Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam office. They included a lady holding a sign which read ‘Nick Clegg, you are a disgrace to our city. Shame on you for defying the people of Sheffield’.

“Now we have to debate whether he’s the worst MP in Sheffield’s history,” she suggested.

Also present was the Sheffield Central Constituency Labour Party’s Secretary Jim Smith. On the bill, he commented that the coalition “have no mandate.

“They didn’t talk about [the bill] in their manifesto,” he said.

Bill ‘a disaster’

By 8:25 pm there were approximately 65 people present. A few words were said by some of the more outspoken protesters including a Sheffield doctor who said that she is “deeply deeply worried” about the bill.

She went on to say that the bill is “a disaster in terms of the fragmentation of patient care.”

After one minute of silence the crowd disbanded at 8:45 pm. Faith Salih, one of the organisers of the vigil, said the protest showed that “people from all backgrounds care.”

The vigil is one of many which are taking place across Britain tonight. They have been orchestrated by political blogger Dr. Éoin Clarke.

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