On Tuesday, NHS North West London announced that it would close A&E departments at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex and Ealing Hospitals.
Two million west London residents are affected and 100,000 have already signed petitions opposing the closures. Those people have been ignored.
Charing Cross Hospital will be demolished and most of the site sold for private development. NHS use of the site will be 3% of current levels. All 500 beds at Charing Cross will go and all acute services will be lost.
Hammersmith Hospital will remain a specialist hospital but with no A&E.
All blue light emergencies are to be diverted to other hospitals, which are already at capacity and exceed waiting time targets for A&E.
There will be no A&E in the London boroughs of Hammersmith, Ealing or Brent, which together have a population the size of Leeds.
After the A&E closures, there will only be an ‘urgent care centre’ (UCC) remaining at each of the four hospitals. UCCs are described in the papers for Monday’s meeting as ‘staffed by at least one GP at all times’ and ‘able to treat minor injuries (including minor fractures) in addition to minor illnesses.’
West London has been hit by the coalition’s NHS holocaust with proper healthcare removed from over two million people.
However, this is just the start of an assault that is going on all over the UK.
Coming up, this year in the Greater London area, are savage cuts and closures of A&E’s, maternity units, and paediatrics at Chase Farm, Whittington, Epsom, St Helier, Croydon and Lewisham Hospitals, to name just a few of the District General Hospitals in the Greater London area that are targets for the coalition hit squads. With key units closed and land to be sold off to the property speculators, patients will suffer.
Again, the situation is no different in any of the big cities of the UK – the hatchet is well and truly out for the NHS.
What we are going to see is a number of mid-Staffs scenarios where large numbers of patients requiring urgent care and treatment are unable to get it, and die in their homes, out of sight, as a direct result of the policies of the Cameron-Clegg government.
Indeed, Cameron is notorious for telling the electorate in Enfield, just before the last election, that Chase Farm hospital was safe.
As soon as the election was over and the Tories elected, the pledge was binned in the most cynical fashion.
The question of the hour is what must be done about this critical situation.
There are basically two schools of thought.
The Labourites and the revisionists say that we must wait and hope for the best, or work for a Miliband government, that will then save us.
No workers will believe this since it was Blair, Brown and Miliband that either brought in or supported the PFI, Foundation Trusts and the beginning of the health market in the NHS.
The Tories had simply to build on this vital spade work.
There is no doubt that once back in, Labour will rediscover the capitalist crisis and carry on with the Cameron-Clegg programme!
There is only one way to deal with this crisis.
All the trade unions must oppose every closure and stop them with occupations, accompanied by massive strike actions, leading to a general strike that will bring the coalition down and bring in a workers’ government.
Once again, the only unthinkable alternative to this policy is to allow the NHS and the Welfare State, which former generations won at great cost, to be eradicated, in what would be a huge victory for the bosses and a shameful defeat for the workers.
Occupy the hospitals and fire stations to stop closures!
Organise a general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers’ government!