The fight to occupy Chase Farm Hospital is intensifying

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A section of last December’s North East London’s Council of Action march in Enfield to stop the closure of Chase Farm Hospital
A section of last December’s North East London’s Council of Action march in Enfield to stop the closure of Chase Farm Hospital

THE fight to occupy Chase Farm hospital intensified on day 38 of the daily picket on the gates of Chase Farm as medical students, local residents and hospital staff expressed their determination to save the hospital by all means necessary.

Julia Greenford a Middlesex student studying Midwifery told News Line: ‘I have come to Chase Farm to do a course on Advanced Life Support.

‘The facilities and the teaching are brilliant.

‘This hospital has to be saved, not only for the patients and hospital staff but for the students as well.

‘We must occupy to stop the closure and I will participate. Tell me the day and I will bring my sleeping bag!’

Chase Farm hospital porter Eddie said: ‘They must keep this hospital open. There is no other hospital around this place.

‘North Middlesex is a small place and Chase Farm is a big hospital. They need to develop this hospital and get more advanced equipment.

‘I agree with occupying this hospital 100 per cent. We will physically stop them from closing the hospital down!

‘All the porters will be behind this. I will speak to my union and I will come and join the daily picket on my day off.’

Patient Androulla Evans said: ‘I do not want the hospital to close down. We are all here in Enfield and I do not want to go anywhere else.

‘I just took my granddaughter to Barnet hospital because she was referred and it was very far away. It cost so much money.  This is a good hospital.  Why do they want to close it down?  My mum is in Chase Farm Hospital at the moment, this hospital is convenient for everyone.

‘My husband, my family, everyone is against the closure.

‘We will not let our hospital close, never and we we must occupy it to keep it open.’

A young student and his brother spoke to News Line, Klei Aliaj, said: ‘We see loads of elderly people around here, where is the nearest hospital? Ten miles from here, how are they going to get there?

‘I broke my arm playing football, I scored a great goal, so it was worth it. I loved the service at the hospital, the staff were very friendly.

‘They are very good at their job, they make you feel at home and they give you a good service with a smile.

‘It is good to see people stand up for things in the community. I am happy to hear we are going to occupy the hospital. That is a good idea.

‘People can see what is going to happen so they have to get pro-active to save their essential services.

‘Me and my brother will come down and join in the occupation and bring our friends. We will be happy to join in.’

Nurses who have lived on the Chase Farm campus for twenty years in the nurses’ residences are facing eviction.

When asked about the crisis facing these nurses, hospital porter Terry said: ‘It is disgraceful the way that they are treating the nurses. Everyone ought to have a home.

‘I think that they want to sell those properties off to build private homes like they did with the Highlands Hospital which is all now private flats.

‘As a porter our job is really hard. They have strict rules and regulations and for the smallest thing like being a bit late once in a while you get a warning.

‘I know loads of my colleagues who have lost their jobs. I am fearful that with the closure of the major departments, our jobs would be at stake.

‘I will come out and join you on your daily pickets.’

Sheila Nellis, a local resident, who came to join the picket said: ‘When I heard that nurses who had been working in the hospital and living in hospital accommodation for twenty years were facing eviction I was absolutely outraged!

‘To think that the only option for them to stay was to pay an increased rent from £470 a month to £1,400.

‘If nurses were highly paid then may be they could have managed but on the low wages that nurses are on now a rent of £1,400 would mean that they would not have enough money to even buy food.

‘Nurses save lives and that is their job, that is what they do everyday, they need a hospital to work in and they need accommodation to live in.

‘We will defend them and stop the evictions as we are defending the hospital and we are determined to keep it open and we will do whatever it takes.

‘I am on the picket almost everyday.’

Adnan Khan, a medical student, said: ‘The BMA have another ballot soon and we will find ways of taking action that will not compromise patient care to show our dissatisfaction with the NHS pension deals.

‘We already agreed a new pension deal four years ago so there is no reason to change it.

‘The Health and Social Care bill needs to be scrapped.’

Patient Matilda Wagner said: ‘Privatisation means that you lose your rights as a citizen.

‘The NHS must not be privatised; no public service should be privatised.

‘Privatisation is no good for society.

‘You can see this in other countries. I lived in Germany and our post office that was run by the state was fine.

‘When they privatised it, it became so expensive and there was so many problems that developed, post was never turning up and it was going missing.

‘Capitalism is bringing everything down. You have people living on the street, you have two classes of people, the very rich and the really poor.

‘We the people must occupy this hospital. It will be great to give the people a sign to show them what is going on.

‘We must make a big banner saying, “This hospital is now occupied”.’

Doctor Deepthi Olassa, who is in the General Medical Council (GMC), said: ‘I am totally against them closing Chase Farm Hospital. I recently started here.  The daily picket is a good initiative from the people of Enfield. I see you here every day.’

Sophie Hooper who was having a blood test at Chase Farm said: ‘Chase Farm is great for what it does. I would join the occupation of Chase Farm.

‘At the end of the day I do not think that they have considered what it will be like without the hospital.   They will soon notice when it is not there.

‘When ambulances are travelling further and people start dying then what excuses will they give?’