Campaigners take part in weekend NHS protest

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ACTIVISTS in Portsmouth joined others across the country in protesting against the government’s controversial health reforms.

On Saturday, around 20 local members of the Portsmouth Labour Party and Unison union gathered in Cosham High Street to collect signatures from people opposed to the proposed changes to the NHS.

Protests were also held in areas including Reading, London, Cambridge, Norwich, Sunderland, Jarrow, Manchester, Burnley, Brighton and Leeds.

Unison – the UK’s largest union – said the so-called NHS Big Weekend showed opposition to the reforms from health workers and members of the public.

Chairman of the Portsmouth Labour Party John Ferrett said: ‘I would say 98 per cent of the people we talked to were willing to sign our petition.

‘It felt like we had overwhelming support from the public.

Campaigners were leafleting and petitioning at the northern end of Cosham High Street from 10am until 2pm, ahead of the third reading of the Health and Social Care Bill next week.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has said: ‘The reality is that we’re giving more power and choice to patients over how they get treated.’