‘We’re determined to stop the closure of Chase Farm Hospital A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics departments, we will occupy if they move to close them,’ North East London Council of Action secretary Bill Rogers told News Line on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the Council of Action’s Second Anniversary picket of the hospital.
He added: ‘This is our 24th monthly picket and by the responses we’ve been getting we can see how adamant people are that they are not going to allow the hospital to close.’
Margaret Amollo, a journalist from Kenya studying in the UK, said: ‘This hospital means a lot to the people.
‘A large number of people use it, especially in the night.
‘We have to keep it open. It has to continue because where are people going to go?
‘I support action to stop the closure. I will support every action necessary, including occupying the hospital.
‘We have to keep it for the people in Enfield and district.
‘The trade unions at least should support the idea of not closing the hospital.
‘In any case, they should fight for its improvement rather than closure.’
Local resident Sue O’Keefe told News Line: ‘The government is advertising “health fairs” across some London boroughs, not Enfield, about stroke and major injury care in London.
‘They are calling it a consultation.
‘It says “we have plans”, indicating that they just want their ideas ratified.
‘Behind this is their plan to reduce the number of A&Es and acute care facilities generally.
‘We have to defend all our A&Es, which are already over-subscribed.
‘Here at Chase Farm, on our second anniversary picket, we are ready to occupy at the first move for closure.
‘We will do everything to save this hospital and the healthcare of future generations.’
Out-patient Maria O’Brien a Broxbourne council clerical officer, said: ‘I use this hospital very often. My daughter has used the paediatrics department for many years – we depend on it.
‘It would be such a shame if they closed it. I don’t know how we’d get to Barnet from where we live in Cheshunt.
‘We have to stop the closure. We should do everything we have to do to keep it open.
‘I would definitely support an occupation. It’s shocking what the government are doing – giving our money to the banks while making cuts.
‘It’s our health service and we have to support it. We have to fight the government over this, it’s important.
‘The unions should take action.’
Chase Farm social worker Lindsey Stapp said: ‘Their plans are ridiculous.
‘We have to oppose and stop the closures. Where will the vulnerable and elderly patients go?
‘Many would not be able to get to the nearest hospital. Closure would leave them more at risk.
‘I support doing everything to stop the closure, including occupation.
‘The unions should be more involved in fighting the closure.
‘It’s not enough to pay lip service, they must take action.’
Local resident Shirley Huwen added: ‘It’s disgusting that they are trying to bring in polyclinics and close the A&E.
‘Barnet can’t cope and nor would North Middlesex hospital.
‘They don’t listen to us enough. The more people complain about it the better. We have to fight this closure.
‘I’ll support an occupation, really we’ll have to – they don’t listen to you, they just do what they plan.’
Council of Action supporter Sheila Nellis said: ‘This is our second anniversary picket. We’ve held off the closure for two years.
‘We are determined to keep the hospital open. We need people to stand firm and unite, and we will occupy if necessary.’
Local businessman George Savva told News Line: ‘I’ve been coming to Chase Farm for years. The closure plans stink.
‘Politicians are hypocrites. The Tories were thinking of closing down the hospital, now Labour is doing it. They are finishing what the Tories left off.
‘We have to fight this closure. I agree with occupying to stop it.
‘The unions should take action but some of the union leaders are doing nothing.’
Scott Dore, Harlesden YS, said: ‘I’m here for the anniversary picket.
‘They are still planning to close the A&E and Maternity and we are here to support the staff and the community to keep Chase Farm Hospital open.
‘We will occupy if necessary.
‘The unions should support us in keeping the hospital open because Barnet would not be able to cope with all the extra patients if Chase Farm closed.
‘We are getting tremendous support – cars hoot us as they pass and the staff stop to support us and give donations for the campaign.’
Local resident Lesley Willis warned: ‘We have to save Chase Farm, don’t think that the closure would affect just a few people, it will affect everyone.
‘The government are trying to close hospitals over a number of years so they think people won’t notice.
‘We can’t sit back and think things will be OK.
‘We have to fight all hospital closures, it’s not just Chase Farm.’
Tube worker Jay Coleman said: ‘My wife is in labour. We’ve been here since 7am this morning.
‘It’s disgusting even to think of closing the Maternity.
‘The staff here have been brilliant. To remove the quality of staff we have here would be disgraceful.
‘It would also mean another hospital being overloaded.
‘After all, what do we pay our taxes for?
‘I’d support an occupation. How could you tell your lad in ten years time “that used to be a hospital and you were born there”?
‘I was born at Barts and their maternity is now closed.
‘The unions should be taking action, people have to stand together or you get knocked over.
‘Privatisation has been a disaster on the Underground, it was a disaster on British Rail.
Things have to be kept under public ownership.
‘When it’s private you lose money and you don’t get the service.
‘The health service is what makes this country great, we don’t want it privatised.’