KEEP CHASE FARM OPEN – No to polyclinic, urges picket

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Pickets outside Chase Farm Hospital yesterday morning
Pickets outside Chase Farm Hospital yesterday morning

PASSING cars tooted their horns, as campaigners shouted ‘No polyclinics – save our hospitals’ outside Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield yesterday.

The north-east London Council of Action was holding another successful 50 strong picket of the hospital against plans to close its Accident and Emergency, Maternity and Paediatrics departments.

Workers and local residents spoke to News Line at the picket.

Chase Farm worker Anne said: ‘I’m opposed to the closure of the A&E. It’s a long distance to other A&E’s, but my greater concern is if they close this A&E will they increase the capacity of other A&Es to meet needs? I am dubious of that.’

Henry Nkoi, from Hackney Young Socialists, was on the picket.

He said: ‘I am here to make a difference because they want to close the hospital.

‘We want to get people to attend the march through Enfield.

‘People need to come together and fight for our rights.’

Jackie Kalou, a local resident, said: ‘It’s too much.

‘For people like ourselves who can drive it’s alright, but for people who are elderly it’s impossible to travel on buses to get to Barnet.

‘Even getting to North Middlesex is difficult.

‘We’re worried that older people will end up being killed.

‘It’s the elderly who suffer the most.

‘I support a sit-in to stop the closure.’

Elmarie, a worker in Chase Farm pathology department, said: ‘We should definitely stop the closure.

‘I work in pathology and there won’t be so many specimens if they shut down the A&E.

‘I’m a locum, so if there’s less work I could lose my job.

‘We need to get the unions involved to save the hospitals.

‘I live in Welwyn Garden City. They are planning to close our hospital.

‘Where are we going to go in an emergency?

‘It’s ridiculous. There’s a problem with funding, but I think it’s the way they run the hospitals with money going into private pockets.’

Enfield resident Louisa added: ‘I strongly disagree with the closure, it’s ridiculous.

‘We should have the A&E and Maternity here. It’s impossible going to Barnet.

‘I’m coming on the march and I’d support a sit-in to stop the closure.’

A junior doctor who did not wish to be named, in case of being disciplined, said: ‘Ideally, there should be a 24-hour A&E in every area.

‘I live in Hemel and they are closing the A&E there.

‘I can understand why people are upset.

‘If people have to travel further in an emergency it is a worry.’

Nursery nurse, Victoria Vaughan, said: ‘I’m against the closure. People will lose their jobs and where will the mothers go?

‘People rely on hospitals, especially in an emergency.

‘We should stop them doing this. I’ll come on the march and I’ll support an occupation to stop the closure.

‘The unions should join in to protect the hospital, the hospital workers and their jobs’.