A coffin will be paraded outside Parliament today to symbolise the “death” of the NHS as part of a union protest against the government’s health reforms.

Unite has collected thousands of signatures against the health and social care bill which the union said will lead to the privatisation of large parts of the NHS.

The union will present a letter to the Commons health select committee, which is scrutinising the bill.

National officer Rachael Maskell said in the letter: “We are writing to urge you to protect the NHS from the savage and unnecessary reforms put forward in the bill.

“The reforms contained within this bill will reduce the quality of health services available to people in the UK, increase healthcare costs, and ultimately widen health inequality.”