‘EALING Hospital maternity department is to close by July 1st’, Pippa Nightingale Maternity Lead for ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ told a meeting of Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group yesterday.
There was an angry demonstration before the meeting where up to a hundred local residents, mothers and babies and trade unionists marched and shouted: ‘Defend Ealing Maternity unit, occupy now!’ and ‘Whose NHS, our NHS!’.
In the meeting there was an angry response from the audience, one mother said: ‘It doesn’t make sense. We are being forced to have our babies miles away. How do we get to Hillingdon on London transport.’
Ealing resident Laureen Sherry said: ‘I feel very strongly that the NHS should not be privatised, it is ours not theirs.
‘I certainly would support occupying Ealing hospital to defend the maternity.’
Raj Gill, Ealing Unite Community branch secretary said: ‘In Spain and Portugal they have occupied hospitals to stop their closure and we must do so.
‘Any form of direct action is plausible under these circumstances.
‘The trade unions must do more to mobilise their members to defend the NHS.’
Ealing mum Zita said: ‘I had my baby at Ealing and Ealing maternity does an excellent, professional, caring job and the prospect of not having a local maternity unit is horrifying.
‘The proposed alternatives are far away, awkward to get to and already over subscribed. I cannot see how the Ealing CCG will be able to ensure adequate provision outside the borough.
‘I have written to them about this and they have given no credible answers.’