A LOBBY of Parliament called by the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, and backed by the Unite trade union, was held yesterday, midday.
It was also attended by Ealing, Charing Cross and Whittington Save Our Hospital campaigns as well as students from Goldsmiths University.
Louise Irvine, Chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, said: ‘I am here because I recognise the importance of uniting together to save the NHS. We are heading for a two-tier system, the end of the NHS as we know it, but we have to fight these cuts until the end.
‘We have to have a massive fight to get these plans of the Health and Social Care Act anulled.’
Raj Gill from Ealing Save Our Hospital campaign and a Unite member said: ‘This protest is about the retracting of section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act, which allows the competitive tender of the NHS contracts to private companies.
‘That amounts to the dismantling of the NHS.
‘The people of this country need to rise up and oppose these massive cuts to NHS Hospitals like Lewisham, the Whittington, Ealing Hammersmith, Central Middlesex, Chase Farm and every hospital where they want to cut any services.
‘We have to go further than just petitions and marches and protests.
‘If we need to occupy hospitals like they have done in Madrid and Athens then we will do it.
‘That is the way to send a message to the Minister for Health Jeremy Hunt and the government.
‘We cannot allow the destruction of the NHS to happen.’
Mark, a staff nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital and a Unison member, told News Line: ‘The government is trying to destroy the NHS by bringing in 20 per cent budget cuts and mass privatisation, and they are trying to destroy socialised health care.
‘Over a week in the hospital where I work, wards are always full, we have no more capacity.
‘We want there to be 20 per cent more nurses and doctors, and 20 per cent more services with 20 per cent more money invested in them and not cuts.
‘That is why we can’t afford to lose any hospitals in South London or anywhere else in the country for that matter.
‘We need direct action and the trade union leaders to get off their knees.
‘We need a national campaign of public sector strikes and demonstrations to defeat this government.’
Kamil Chandy of the GMB union said: ‘This is the beginning of the fight all over London – from South London to North London and over to West London.