STAFF at West Suffolk Hospital made their stand against the Government’s new Health and Social Care Bill on Tuesday, joining Unison’s nationwide protest.
Protesters fear the bill will put private firms’ profits ahead of patient care and will lead to large scale staff redundancies.
Regional organiser for Unison Tim Roberts said: “It is privatisation by stealth.”
“We are looking at how best to run the NHS and it is not about increasing competition – we know that did not work with the railways. Bringing in private companies and turning the NHS into a market place is not a solution.
“Once this bill goes through it is final, the EU won’t let us go back on it. The money that should be going into patient care will end up going into the pockets of private shareholders.”
Under the new Health and Social Care Bill, doctors will take control of the NHS budget from bureaucrats and will be able to buy patient care from private companies who will compete for contracts with NHS providers. The Government says the reform will make the NHS more efficient.
But critics say it will lead to the slow privatisation of the health service.
Gill Malik, assistant branch secretary for Unison at West Suffolk, works as a housekeeper in the hospital.
She said: “I don’t think people realise how important this bill is.
“People think it is just another change that won’t really be noticed but this one is fundamental to the principles of the NHS.
“The NHS is such a wonderful institution and something we should be very proud of. We don’t want the bill to go through before the public realise what they have lost - by then it will be too late.”