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Anger growing in Norwich at plans to reform NHS

PUBLISHED: 07:51 08 April 2011 | UPDATED: 12:00 08 April 2011

A public meeting to discuss fears that some of the changes will lead to privatisation of NHS services

A public meeting to discuss fears that some of the changes will lead to privatisation of NHS services

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Controversial plans to change the National Health Service will lead to its "total destruction", according to Norwich campaigners, who have launched a local battle to keep it public.

The government’s radical reforms to hand NHS budgets to GPs, along with a raft of other changes will lead to a privatisation of healthcare, the inaugural meeting of the Norfolk branch of Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) heard last night.

Chaired by former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, the event was held at the Friends Meeting House in Upper Goat Lane, Norwich, and was well attended by scores of concerned patients, NHS staff and union members who showed that there was a growing feeling of anger towards health secretary Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill.

Wendy Savage, founder of the national KONP organisation, told the meeting the bill was about creating a competitive market for healthcare which would open the door to private health companies and leave patients with a poorer service.

Prof Savage said: “We must keep our NHS public, which means publically provided as well as publically funded.”

This week prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg launched a “listening exercise” on the bill, but many at the meeting said they felt that the pause to reflect on the reforms was little more than a PR exercise and it would not lead to real amendments unless the public could lobby their MPs and demonstrate their opposition.

Norfolk KONP will be giving out leaflets and talking to members of the public before the next Norwich City home game at Carrow Road, meeting near to the Riverside Leisure Centre at 6.30pm on Friday, April 15.
 A May Day event around the theme “Save our NHS” will also be taking place from noon to 3pm on Monday, May 2, in Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich.

To join the Norfolk branch of Keep Our NHS Public, email konpnorfolk@gmail.com. Are you organising a public meeting about an issue? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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