EALING SOUTHALL WRP candidate Hassan Zulkifal confronted Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock outside Ealing Hospital yesterday morning.
Hancock claimed: ‘We’ve saved the A&E and now we’re going to put more resources into the hospital.’
Zulkifal asked Hancock: ‘Will you reopen our maternity and paediatrics departments?’
Hancock’s response was: ‘Any investment we put in is clinically led.’
Zulkifal told News Line: ‘He kept saying that over and over again. Well, we’ve got hundreds of signatures on our petition, many of which are from health workers and clinicians here, demanding the reopening of maternity and the Charlie Chaplin children’s ward.
‘I asked Hancock to sign the petition and he told me that he doesn’t sign petitions. His minders were trying to stop him being photographed by us. He was clearly rattled.
‘The Tories are very bad for the NHS. All these buzzwords like “clinically led” are just a smokescreen for austerity and the reimposition of the failed “Shaping a Healthier Future” programme of NHS cuts and closures in West London.
‘I asked why was he here today boasting about spending after ten years of austerity and cuts and he had no answer.’
After Hancock departed, many visitors and staff backed Hassan and said they would vote for him.
Amar Kalsi, Ealing Council worker, said: ‘I’m voting for Hassan. Maternity and paediatrics must be reopened, it’s absolutely necessary.’
A nurse, Sheila, said: ‘This is the only hospital in the borough and we need to have our maternity back. The demand is there, we need it.’
GMB member and domestic worker Babita Gurling said: ‘Our pay is low and we work very hard. We need a strong representative to stand up for us.’
Student nurse Miriam Hiuc said: ‘The Tories wanted to close the A&E and the whole hospital and they were stopped. Now it’s very important to get back maternity and paediatrics.’
Student nurse Liane Corrigan said: ‘It’s terrible that they took away the student nurse bursary, especially when there is such a shortage of nurses. I’m not a Tory supporter at all.’
Unite member Veronica said: ‘I used to work in paediatrics and to lose the Charlie Chaplin ward was devastating. Now the Tories have had to dump their Shaping a Healthier Future plans and are in disarray over their cuts programme in west London. That’s good. Now we want what we’ve lost back.’
Hassan said: ‘We had great support in the hospital after Hancock left. People were outraged that the Health Secretary of the government that has consistently attacked funding for the NHS would pose for a photo op outside one of the hospitals that has suffered the most under Tory austerity.’