DEFEND TOWER HAMLETS NHS – GPs & residents to protest at St Paul’s Medical Centre

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THERE is an anti-privatisation protest to defend the NHS taking place outside St Paul’s Way Medical Centre tomorrow from 2pm to 3pm.

GPs and local residents are demanding that the take-over of the St Pauls Way GP surgery on Bow Common from February 1st by the international health business Atos Healthcare is stopped.

There is going to be a petition that all local residents can sign.

The petition demands ‘equal provision of healthcare for all, free at the point of delivery and based on need not profit’.

Atos Healthcare was awarded the 10-year contract despite the fact that local GPs, with years of experience of providing healthcare in Tower Hamlets, were prepared to take it on.

Atos will be providing services in order to make a profit out of them.

Local residents insist that if Atos takes over they will lose forever the dedicated service provided by committed family GPs and nurses who currently look after the patients in this part of the East End.

GPs and local resident are pointing out that an Atos take-over would be the beginning of the slippery slope to privatised health care in Tower Hamlets.

There has already been the Private Finance Initiative redevelopment of the Royal London Hospital which is costing in the region of £100m each year for the NHS to lease back from the funding firm before a single patient can be treated.

Tower Hamlets council and the Primary Care Trust now want to hand GP services over to the private sector.

Once the St Paul’s Way clinic is privatised, other clinics will follow suit.

The government master plan aims to see almost one in four of the Tower Hamlets population relying on privately provided primary health care.

Local residents are convinced that this must not be allowed to happen.

One local resident told News Line: ‘We must defend the NHS as a public “not for profit” service, for our families, ourselves and our community – both now and in the future.’