‘CALLING all cyclists – join our Big Bike Ride from Ealing Hospital to Charing Cross Hospital on Sunday morning. And if you’re not a cyclist, still come along to give us a good send off.
‘We assemble at 10am at the front of the hospital to set off at 11am. We are not protesting, we are making a pledge to activate the whole community to stand up to save our A&Es.’
Southall electrician Raj Shergil was talking on the West London Council of Action picket of Ealing Hospital yesterday morning. He continued: ‘When they try and close Ealing A&E we are going to occupy and appeal to the staff to carry on working and providing the service that we all need. We are also going to demand that the trade unions support and defend us. We will not let our hospital close.’
A&E Staff Nurse and RCN member Cathy Buxton, 25 years a nurse at Ealing Hospital, said: ‘I speak for all A&E staff at Ealing Hospital, we support the Big Bike Ride. We are unanimous, we must not be closed. We are vital to the community. They are not taking accessibility into consideration.’
Michael Dwyer, A&E Porter and GMB member, said: ‘We’ve seen Maternity and Paediatrics close. If we lose A&E that will be the end. A&E is vital, it’s needed. We support the Big Bike Ride.’
Joanne Benoit, RCN and 10 years a nurse at Ealing, said: ‘You can’t shut A&E. Without A&E it’s no longer a hospital. Where are people supposed to go? The Southall end of Ealing is deprived, Hillingdon is just a community hospital. Ealing District General Hospital with its A&E must be saved at all costs.’ Emmanuel Collins, Ealing Hospital Health Care Facilitator (HCF), said: ‘We know they are going to close A&E. They are trying to privatise the NHS. We must stop them.’
Malik Othman, Southall resident, said: ‘A leaflet came through my letter box this week saying Ealing Hospital is not closing. It’s not true. They are closing A&E which is the most important thing. Why aren’t the unions striking? We will occupy to stop the closure. The unions have to fight. This is our hospital and we won’t let it close.’