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Protesters fight NHS 'destruction'

Scores of people have staged a candlelit vigil to protest against the "destruction" of the NHS.

Families held banners and candles in the peaceful protest at Newcastle's Grey's Monument to ask for the halt of the Government's Health and Social Care Bill.

The protest was one of 25 being held across the UK on Monday night to draw attention to the proposed reforms.

Dr Tim Dowson, 54, a general practitioner from Newcastle, carried a sign in the shape of a gravestone, reading: "NHS RIP 1948 - 2012? Thanks Lib.Dem."

The married father-of-two said: "This Bill is nothing to do with efficiency and nothing to do with cutting costs and all to do with destroying the NHS. If you want to destroy the NHS, you don't tell people you are doing it. You just get on with it and keep the logo."

Protester Rachel Evans, 24, a Newcastle University medical student of Heaton, Newcastle, said: "We need to keep the NHS public. We were talking about the way the cuts will affect public services and wanted to do something to show our opposition to the Bill."

Carl Kennedy, 34, a father of one from Heaton, organised the vigil.

He said: "The key purpose of the meetings is to demonstrate that the UK people do not want this Bill to become law. We are here regardless of our political affiliations to say the NHS belongs to us, and it should stay that way."

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has secured an emergency debate in a last-ditch Labour bid to keep the reforms from becoming law.

The debate could allow MPs to delay the Bill's progress until the Government publishes an internal assessment of the risks posed by the reforms to the NHS in England.


From Belfast Telegraph