‘SAVE our hospital! Defend the NHS!’ shouted up to 50 local residents and health workers who braved the pouring rain to join a mass picket of Ealing Hospital yesterday morning.
The lively picket began at 7am and demanded that Ealing Maternity Department is immediately re-opened and that the A&E and Paediatrics are not shut down. Majory Nkomo, a nurse in the RCN union joined the picket. She said: ‘Ealing Hospital is so important for the members of this community.
‘They need immediate access to health care, especially in emergencies.
‘Also for the elderly – they need a local hospital so that they do not have to travel. My union has to call action to save this hospital and to save our jobs!’ Afi Kofi, a health care assistant at Ealing, said: ‘We feel very strongly about Ealing Hospital. We must save the Paediatrics and the A&E.
‘I work in the Mental Health Department. Sometimes our patients need the A&E. We need this hospital. All services must continue to function. Action must be taken now!’ Anna Greenford, a medical student at Imperial College, said: ‘I support the junior doctors and their ballot for strike action. They are such a dedicated group of people, the NHS would not run without them.
‘If they change the anti-social hours for junior doctors, they will do it for nurses next. This is a really cynical way of undermining the NHS. Everyone in the NHS must come out and support the junior doctors.’
Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North, joined the picket. He said: ‘I have come down to show solidarity and support. The fight for the NHS is my fight as much as it is anybody’s fight. There is no neutrality in this battle.’
Binki Pandya said: ‘I have come to join the picket and I come to all the meetings. The hospital must not close. Me and my family and relatives, we have needed this hospital many times. No privatisation! The Maternity Wing must re-open, we need it now!’
Train driver, Bill Rogers said: ‘The trade unions must be organised to call a general strike to support the junior doctors and the NHS.’