‘DEFEND Ealing Hospital! Support the junior doctors! Kick the government out!’ shouted the fifty-strong mass picket of Ealing Hospital to defend its vital services from being shut down yesterday morning.
The picket, called by the West London Council of Action demands that the Maternity Department is immediately re-opened and that the closure-threatened children’s department and A&E are saved. The picket takes place every single day from 7am-9am and on the last Friday of every month a mass picket is called.
From 7am, doctors, nurses, and staff going into work and coming off night shift stopped to show their support and join the picket. Roy Simpson, an RCN nurse, said: ‘I support the junior doctors 100%. You cannot offer them a 11% pay rise at the same time as a 15% pay cut. Personally, I think that the closure of Maternity and the threat to close the A&E is a stupid decision. Hillingdon Hospital can’t cope. They are just putting more pressure on Northwick Hospital and West Middlesex Hospital.’
Dolly Thomas, a senior staff nurse in the RCN union, said: ‘We need our A&E. I support the daily picket of Ealing Hospital. I support the junior doctors’ strike. They are fighting for anti-social hours payments. We do 12-hour shifts and we also get anti-social hours payments. That is why our union RCN must wake up. The RCN has to ballot for strike action to save the A&E, defend our anti-social hours payments and defend the NHS.’
Sarah, a post-graduate doctor said: ‘Everyone at this hospital is in favour of re-opening the Maternity Department. On Tuesday morning the junior doctors are on strike and I say to them “Go for it!”’
Picket Daljit Kaur told News Line: ‘We have to keep the hospital open, everyone needs it.
‘We cannot afford private health care.’ Ade Adebi, a student nurse said: ‘Bring back our Maternity! The people of this local area need to have their babies here! The government announced that they are stopping the bursary for student nurses. This means that students will have to pay for their tuition fees, rather than being able to study for free. I was disgusted by the government’s decision. This is going to put a lot of students off studying nursing.’