A doctor has spoken out against changes to the NHS which he fears could lead to its privatisation.
Controversial new laws saw primary care trusts abolished in April in favour of clinical commissioning groups, which seek best value by contracting private companies to provide healthcare.
Campaigners are concerned the move will see a two-tier system introduced where allocated personal budgets for patient care paid to companies can be topped up by the rich who can afford to pay more out of their own pocket.
East London GP Dr Kambiz Boomla urged people to join an upcoming demonstration against the laws when he spoke at a meeting at Harmony Hall in Truro Road, Walthamstow, on Tuesday.
He said: “Personal budgets in the new Health Act will mean that only basic treatment will be available, but the rich will be able to pay top-up fees.
“Healthcare will become like going to the dentist and we all know how expensive that can be.”
Len Hockey, Unison rep at Whipps Cross University Hospital, added: “Using the smokescreen of austerity, this government is trying to legislate the NHS out of existence and bring in a US-style health system.”
The speakers encouraged people to join a demonstration in central London.
Campagners from We Are Waltham Forest – Saving Our NHS will meet at Walthamstow Central station at 11am on Saturday May 18, to attend it.
Vice-chair of the Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Alan Wells said patients’ care was still top of the agenda.
He said: “I don’t want to see the NHS run for profit. The health service should be about quality, with patients at the heart of it.”
The CCG has invited people to have their say on the work of the new health body at a meeting at The Score Centre in Oliver Road, Leyton, at 3pm on Friday May 17.