By New Worker
THOUSANDS of protesters, many of them doctors and other health service professionals, blocked Westminster Bridge last Sunday in protest at the Cameron government’s onslaught against the NHS. Many fear that the bill will lead to the wholesale privatisation of the health service and the end of the principle of comprehensive healthcare provided equally to all.
Around 3,000 demonstrators, some dressed as surgeons, staged a sit-down protest on the bridge at 1pm, bringing traffic to a standstill on both sides of the Thames. The bridge, normally one of London's busiest, links St Thomas' hospital on the southern bank with the Houses of Parliament and the protest was called to highlight the Health and Social Care Bill, which goes to the House of Lords this week.
St Thomas’ is a leading teaching hospital and one of Britain’s oldest medical institutions. If the Bill passes, hospitals like St Thomas’ could be sold to private corporations, the staff put on private payrolls and beds given over to private patients.
UK Uncut, the anti-cuts group which organised the Block the Bridge, Block the Bill demonstration, said: "Today has brought together doctors, nurses, parents, students, unions, pensioners and children together in an unprecedented act of mass civil disobedience. We are occupying the bridge because the Bill would be bad for the NHS, bad for patients and bad for society."
The protesters later held a "general assembly" in the middle of the bridge, similar to those organised by campaigners on Wall Street, where they discussed future demonstrations against the government's cuts.