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GP fronts ‘drop the bill’ billboard campaign

Anti-health bill campaigners have launched a high profile billboard campaign fronted by a GP calling on the Prime Minister to recognise he is ‘making a big mistake with the NHS’.

Billboards featuring the plea from Dr Brigid Sheppard, a GP in Archway, North London, have been put up in 150 locations across London, as part of a high profile campaign by pressure group 38 degrees. The campaigners are also set to install the billboards in high streets ‘across the UK’ if 38 degrees manages to raise £325,000 by the weekend. With five days to go donations were already at £299,000.

GPs involved with 38 degrees told Pulse that the campaign had been launched to ‘get the voices of people heard’ and said they hoped the billboards would help members of the public to join protests against the health bill. On Wednesday 7 March GPs will join other doctors to lead a protest march from the BMA’s headquarters to Westminster.

Dr Deborah Colvin, a GP in Tower Hamlets, London, who is involved in the 38 degrees campaign, hit out at the Prime Minister for riding roughshod over his pre-election promise to make ‘no more changes to the NHS’.

She said: ‘The campaign has been launched in order to try and get the Government to listen to people and  patients. This Government is a minority government, they weren’t elected on a mandate to change the NHS and in fact David Cameron promised no more changes to the NHS. This campaign is trying to get the voices of people heard,’ Dr Colvin said.

‘It is such a complicated bill that many people don’t understand it. What we’re hoping is that more members of the public will raise questions, will contact their MPs, and will put pressure on Government not to pass something which is not supported by most people in the country. It would be fanastic if the public joined us on our March from BMA House to Westminster hall on Wednesday. We need a groundswell of the public in joining the doctors to say “these changes shouldn’t happen”.’

Pulse revealed last week that board members at two CCGs in London, including a senior GP who hosted Andrew Lansley’s first public speech as health secretary, wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to drop the health bill.

Dr Colvin said it ‘is really important’ that CCG members are highlighting their opposition to the bill, given the Government has used GPs’ participation in commissioning to justify support for the reforms.

What the billboard will look like: