Protests held against NHS reforms
Protests against the Government's controversial health reforms will continue to take place across England, with union leaders warning of a "battle" over the future of the NHS.
Candlelit vigils and demonstrations were held in towns and cities on Saturday, with petitions organised and street stalls mounted, and more are planned for Sunday.
Protests were held in areas including Reading, London, Cambridge, Norwich, Sunderland, Jarrow, Manchester, Burnley, Brighton, Leeds and Portsmouth.
Unison said the so-called NHS Big Weekend showed opposition to the reforms from health workers and members of the public.
Opponents of the reforms say they could lead to a two-tier system, and that poorer people will be hit hardest.
But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said on Saturday: "Claims that we aim to privatise the NHS amount to nothing more than ludicrous scaremongering. We have made it crystal clear, time and again, that we will never, ever, privatise the NHS.
"The reality is that we're giving more power and choice to patients over how they get treated, keeping waiting times low and cutting bureaucracy so more cash gets to the front line."
Unison claimed the Government's recent "listening exercise" over its Health and Social Care Bill had not addressed "flaws" in the legislation.
Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health, said: "The Health and Social Care Bill is a massively expensive, completely unnecessary, waste of time and public money. Hospitals are already struggling to deliver on Government demands for £20 billion in so-called efficiency savings.
"This is the wrong Bill at the wrong time and it's time to kick it out." The Bill will receive its third reading in the Commons next week.