Union protests over NHS shake-up plans

Unison members dress as jesters outside Doncaster royal Infirmary to protest against NHS cuts
Unison members dress as jesters outside Doncaster royal Infirmary to protest against NHS cuts
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PROTESTERS at Doncaster Royal Infirmary donned jester costumes to voice their opposition to Government plans to reform the NHS.

Members of the trade union Unison targeted the borough’s biggest hospital to make their position clear to the borough MP Rosie Winterton, who was visiting during their protest.

Ms Winterton is also the Labour Party’s chief whip.

A spokesman for Unison confirmed the protest was held to tie in with Ms Winterton’s visit.

She said: To coincide with her visit, nurses and health care workers from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital are protesting against the Health and Social Care Bill outside DRI main entrance.”

The protesters dressed in jesters outfits holding signs saying: “Don’t be a fool Mr Cameron – leave the NHS alone”.

Ms Winterton, MP for Doncaster Central, Rosie Winterton, spent the day with Doncaster doctors, nurses and NHS staff to hear about the work they are doing for patients on the frontline.

She spent the day shadowing staff in departments including accident and emergency and surgery.

She expressed her own concerns over the planned changes.

She said: “I have serious reservations about the Government’s plans for the NHS and will be pressing for the Government to listen to the concerns of patients and NHS staff.”

Under the Health and Social Care Bill, GPs will take control of 80 per cent of the NHS budget - £80 billion a year - and hospitals will be given more freedom from central Government.

Groups of GPs will form into groups to commission services from April 2013 although it is unclear how many doctors plan to be directly involved in buying-in services.

Unions have raised concerns about the reforms.

They say they are opposed to an increasing role for private, profit-making companies in healthcare.

Doctors attending the British Medical Association’s emergency meeting last month said health secretary Andrew Lansley was privatising the NHS but hoped to sweeten GPs by offering them control of budgets.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised to address concerns over the controversial NHS reforms.