Chase Farm Support From Unite Leader

Christmas picket enthusiastically showing its determination to keep Chase Farm Hospital open
Christmas picket enthusiastically showing its determination to keep Chase Farm Hospital open

THE North-East London Council of Action Christmas picket of Chase Farm Hospital got a very warm reception yesterday for its demand to occupy to stop the closure.

Cars hooted and staff and patients stopped and took leaflets and signed up to the campaign.

Bill Rogers, North East London Council of Action secretary, told News Line: ‘Our Christmas picket is going very well.

‘A number of YS members have come along and made it a lively picket, and a number of supporters of the campaign are here.

‘People we are talking to – staff, patients and the public – are saying they support an occupation, which is coming very close.

‘When NHS London makes its announcement on December 21, only a week or so away, we have to be prepared to act.

‘I’d just like to say I was pleased to get a letter from the general secretary-elect of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, who said he supported our campaign.’

Richard Owen, of Leyton YS, said: ‘The elderly depend on these services.

‘They don’t want to travel far, they need them localised.

‘We have to keep the A&E open.

‘If people have to go to another hospital when there is an emergency, it could be too late.

‘And the changes here will make a difference elsewhere.

‘I support occupying to keep the hospital open.’

Physiotherapist Valentina David said: ‘It’s not good for the people of Enfield, and there will be a lot of people without jobs if the closure goes through.

‘We should fight the closure.

‘The NHS is more important than other things. We need it for everybody.

‘The NHS needs support from everyone.

‘I would support a sit-in.’

Graham Thomas, a retired civil servant, told News Line: ‘For local people, this is an important amenity.

‘The sooner you can get someone into acute care, the better their chance of survival.

‘A friend of mine was treated here when he was seriously ill.

‘I’ve been very impressed with the staff.

‘We’ve now seen local government cuts have a political bias.

‘I don’t think the Tories believe in universal care, they are interested in cost-cutting.

‘Yet they can find billions to keep a presence in Afghanistan.

‘We should fight the closure.

‘I don’t want to see us going the way of America, where you have to produce your insurance card.’