THERE were 40 pickets outside Chase Farm Hospital yesterday morning, including local residents and staff.
Some had travelled from as far afield as Luton and Cheshunt to join the campaign to keep the hospital open.
Pickets were determined to defend the hospital by all means necessary, and put forward the policy of occupation.
Bill Rogers, secretary of the North-East London Council of Action, said: ‘We’ve had a great response on our picket today, despite the bitter cold weather.
‘The Visteon workers have come down to support us and there are a lot of new faces.
‘We urge people to come to our next Council of Action meeting at the Hollybush pub on Lavender Hill on Tuesday March 9th.
‘In the London area 22 out of the 32 District General Hospitals are threatened with cuts and closures.
‘This is unacceptable.
‘North-East London Council of Action calls for occupations of all the hospitals threatened with cuts and closures.’
Jane Wood, a young newly-qualified nurse at the hospital, said: ‘As a health worker I am very concerned about the lack of jobs available, compared to the health care professionals that are being trained.
‘They are closing the A&E at Chase Farm and they are going to refer all the major cases to Barnet which will put intense pressure on Barnet.’
Bina Kanabar said ‘I support the hospital. I’ve been here and my family have been here. I’ve lived in the area for 30 years and I’ve used the hospital many times.’
Local young girl Maddie Smith said: ‘When I have a baby I want to have it at Chase Farm. I was born at the hospital and it’s my hospital.’
Enfield resident Mike Cox said: ‘I have come to join the picket today. I have two elderly parents and I am not happy about the A&E because they are depleting it and they are not sure what they are going to do with Barnet.
‘It’s all gone belly up financially. Also from what I’ve heard this birthing unit that is meant to replace the maternity unit will have no consultants.’