MONDAY’S launch of the daily picket of Chase Farm Hospital, in preparation to occupy the departments threatened with closure, was a roaring success.
The mass picket was called by the North East London Council of Action and joined by student nurses, hospital staff, local residents and school youth all determined to do whatever it takes, including occupying the hospital, to stop the closure.
Sandra Stockfield, an auxiliary nurse at Chase Farm said: ‘Barnet is too far for Out Patients to travel. North Middlesex is too far from here as well. There are wonderful staff here at Chase Farm.
‘My ward is closing indefinitely. It is called Gas Ward.
‘It is not fair for them to close this hospital down. Occupation is the best way forward.
‘Well done to the picket!’
Simon, who joined the picket from 7.00am, said: ‘I’ve come down mainly to save the Accident and Emergency Department which is the core of the hospital.
‘I am also here in general to keep medical services on the eastern part of Hertfordshire going.
‘All these hospital services have an overlapping population which will no longer be serviced if these plans go ahead.
‘Chase Farm serves a community up to Potters Bar and the QE11 hospital serves the community down to Potters Bar. Both these hospitals are threatened. They both must be saved. They are essential.
‘Occupation has its place in the campaign and moving to a daily picket was a good idea because it continues the presence in the public mind.’
Student Tanya Whyte said: ‘I love this hospital, the training has to be one of the best in London. I come here for treatment as well, I have surgery planned.
‘In terms of occupying, I say go for it, I am all for the cause.’
A local resident John said: ‘The threatened closure is disgraceful. The community needs this hospital. It is a superb plan to start the daily picket and to keep that picket going.
‘Occupying the hospital to keep the departments running shows total commitment from the staff.
‘I have been seeing you guys here every month on a Tuesday. To keep this going every day is great.’
School student Christopher Petrou said: ‘All my experiences at Chase Farm have been good. I believe all the staff do a great job. I was born at Chase Farm and it must stay open.’
Bill Rogers, Secretary of the North East Council of Action said: ‘We started our picket nice and early, we immediately got the response from passing motorists and passers by.
‘The Council of Action has responded to the threats of cuts and closures at Chase Farm by stepping up its monthly pickets to a daily picket. We are now gearing up to occupy the hospital.’
David Greenford said: ‘I was born here in Chase Farm in 1961, so were my brother and sister, so I would like it to stay open.
‘As well as everything else the Emergency Services must stay. We need more than just the A&E at Barnet.’
Patient Tatenda said: ‘This hospital is local to where I live, I cannot travel to North Middlesex.
‘I support the policy of occupying the hospital to stop the closure.
‘It is a great idea. It is convenient. I get served in this hospital. If it closes down where are we going to go?’