‘WE WILL OCCUPY!’ – to save Chase Farm

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Sacked Visteon workers joined the picket. Chase Farm is their local hospital
Sacked Visteon workers joined the picket. Chase Farm is their local hospital

WORKERS, local residents and patients yesterday expressed their determination to keep all the departments at Chase Farm Hospital open.

They gave their support to the North-East London Council of Action’s monthly mass picket and said they were ready to take part and support an occupation to save the hospital.

Mary Mackie, a student nurse, told News Line: ‘Closing the A&E would be absolutely terrible.

‘It is really needed here.

‘There is a big elderly population in the area. It should definitely stay open.

‘I’d back an occupation to stop the closure and the unions should take action to defend it.’

Local worker Dean Hilmi added: ‘The closure plans are a disaster.

‘We have to keep the hospital open.’

A nurse, Sue, said: ‘Barnet Hospital has been diverting patients here because they can’t cope.

‘There are not enough beds over there.

‘Closing the A&E here at Chase Farm is ridiculous.

‘We have to keep it open. Barnet just cannot cope.

‘I support people occupying the hospital to keep it open 100 per cent.

‘The unions should be taking action to defend the NHS and fight privatisation.’

Hackney WRP member Deji Singh said: ‘Closing the hospital would be wrong for the people of Enfield.

‘We’ve got to keep it open.

‘Every borough should have a local hospital with all the facilities.

‘We pay our taxes, it should be our right.

‘I’ll support a sit-in to keep the hospital open.’

Out-patient Christopher North, a local painter and decorator, said: ‘What they are planning is terrible.

‘They shouldn’t be allowed to do it.

‘We have to do everything possible to save the hospital.

‘It will end up with flats instead of a hospital otherwise. It’s all about money.

‘I support occupying the hospital to stop any closure and the unions taking action to defend it.’

Another nurse, Rebecca, said; ‘I work at Barnet. Yesterday we were on divert. If they close Chase Farm, we have nowhere to put our patients.

‘Even yesterday they had a breach who had to go into A&E.

‘I live in the Welwyn area and if they close our local hospital, the QE2, the nearest one would be the Lister in Stevenage.

‘If people have a heart attack, they could die as a result.

‘We have to keep these hospitals open.

‘We need to save our jobs and save our patients.’

Zeliha Uyan, a student nurse, added: ‘I don’t want the A&E to close.

‘It’s very important to this hospital.

‘We need a hospital here. It is no good sending people to Barnet, it’s too far.

‘I agree with an occupation to stop the closure.’

Henson Bramble, from Hackney YS, said: ‘The hospital should not be closed because people need it.

‘And the workers need their jobs. People need to be looked after, rather than leaving them to die.

That’s would happen if they had to go to Barnet in an emergency.

‘I support having a sit-in to keep this hospital open.’

Social worker Ann Saunders told News Line: ‘It’s a very busy hospital. I’m concerned that if they close these departments where are the patients going to go.

‘Barnet is already overstretched.

‘I’m concerned about the community.

‘We have to keep Chase Farm open.

‘We really need to expand the hospital on the current site rather than close it.

‘I’ll support a sit-in if need be to keep Chase Farm open.’

An out-patient, Sarah Mehmet, commented: ‘It’s very bad what they are planning.

‘Cutting back and saving money is just going to pile on extra pressure to Barnet.

‘Enfield is a large population.

‘We need both hospitals to ensure patients get the right access to treatment as and when needed.

‘We have to fight the closure. People have the right to make a stand.

‘I support occupation to keep the hospital open.

‘People have to do what they have to do.’

A junior doctor, Ben Arnold, said: ‘I wonder which hospital is going to take up the slack.

‘The other hospitals are overstretched. We have to stop the closure. I’ll support an occupation all the way.’

Out-patient Tanya Moruzzi asked: ‘Where are people going to go if they close Chase Farm. It’s going to lead to overcrowding and poor patient care.

‘People’s lives will be put at risk.

‘We have to keep this hospital open, do everything we can.

‘I’ll support an occupation and will do my best to take part.’

Muruvet Aksu, a local hairdresser, said: ‘I don’t think it’s fair to the people.

‘Enfield needs Chase Farm Hospital. We have to stop the closure. We have to do everything we can do to defend the hospital, to save it.

‘I support having a sit-in. The trade unions should support an occupation and take action.

‘The government are not doing things the right way. They are spending too much time on things that aren’t necessary, but not on things that are important like the NHS.’

Local resident Rebecca Condon told News Line: ‘My young daughter is an out-patient.

‘What is being planned is not good.

‘Barnet is 20 minutes away and five minutes in an emergency is critical.

‘People’s lives would be put at risk.

‘We have to keep these departments open.

‘I don’t see why they have to go. We need the maternity unit.

‘Also, we waited four weeks for an appointment, so it’s obvious the hospital is busy.

‘We have to keep Chase Farm open.

‘I’d back a sit-in. The trade unions should support that.’

Shop worker Madeleine Pascale was visiting the hospital with her son to treat his fractured arm.

She said: ‘The closure plan is disgusting.

‘It’s the nearest hospital for us. I had all my kids here and they want to close the maternity unit.

‘Chase Farm is a brilliant hospital.

‘We have to keep all our hospitals open.

‘Closing the A&E here would put lives at risk as people would have to travel all the way to Barnet or North Middlesex.

‘We have to keep Chase Farm open. I’m for doing everything we have to and for occupying the hospital if necessary.’

Linda Bartle, a worker fighting for her job at Visteon, told News Line: ‘I live in this area and if they close this hospital down there is already a 6-hour wait in the A&E in Barnet.

‘Barnet and North Middlesex hospital people should be working with the Enfield people to keep Chase Farm open.

‘It should be a joint venture. If they keep on putting people out of work there will be no National Insurance to keep the NHS going.

‘If it takes an occupation to save the hospital then why not!’

Enfield ‘Save Chase Farm’ councillor Kirean McGregor joined the picket, saying: ‘I’m here because I want to show solidarity with the Council of Action and we support any legal action to save services.

‘Recently, the (Enfield) council was involved in a legal challenge of the decision to downgrade services and the judge refused our request for a judicial review hearing.

‘So we feel the issues have not been discussed in full and open forum.’

Local resident Sue O’Keefe said: ‘Under the government’s plans, there would be no proper A&E here.

‘In any case, no privatisation has been successful.

‘A polyclinic would be a much reduced service.

‘Some patients would have to go to other hospitals.

‘If they had a stroke or heart attack, this would put their lives at risk.

‘We have to stop these closures.

‘And if this is what it takes, we will have to occupy Chase Farm.’