THOUSAND of angry hospital workers, trade unionists, local residents and youth are marching today determined to defeat the government’s plan to close four West London hospitals – Ealing, Charing Cross, Central Middlesex and Hammersmith.
There are two legs of the march, assembling in Southall Park at 11.30 and Acton Park at 12.30, that converge on Ealing Common for a rally at 2pm this afternoon.
Yesterday, the West London Council of Action held its weekly Friday morning picket of Ealing Hospital.
Jose Colaco told News Line: ‘I’m marching tomorrow. My wife was 31 weeks pregnant and they did emergency Caesarean surgery on Wednesday. She is now stable and so is my son. We can never thank them enough. We can’t let them close the A&E unit or the labour ward.’
Unison member Stella Komolafe, a nurse working in Recovery, said: ‘This government is destroying our NHS and our trade unions have to stop letting it all happen, they have to do something now.’
RCN member, nurse Brenda Taylor, said: ‘I’m very worried about the future. We save thousands of lives here every year. Closing is a bad idea.’
Hannah Ram, a project officer at Ealing Hospital, said: ‘I don’t live round here but I’m aware of the impact closure would have on the local residents. Action must be taken. I would support any action, without a shadow of a doubt.’
Bahadur Sandhu, a regular picket, said: ‘This is my local hospital and I’ve used it many, many times.
‘We will occupy the hospital to stop the closure. There will be great support for an occupation. The trade unions must organise a general strike to kick this government out. They are ruining people’s lives.’
Farah Afzal, another local resident and regular picket, said: ‘I’ve been picketing this hospital every Friday for months now. We have to get ready to occupy. It’s our health service. It’s our NHS. This is a wake-up call.’
Andrea Hicks, Senior Sister in Ealing Hospital A&E, said: ‘This hospital must not close. I’m a Unison member and I want my union to start fighting. I say stop this before it’s too late!’