DOCTORS, nurses and NHS staff on hearing the demands blasting out of the megaphone ‘Re-open Maternity! Re-open the Charlie Chaplin childrens’ ward!’ stopped to show their support on the mass picket of Ealing Hospital yesterday morning.
The 50-strong picket shouted: ‘All out with the junior doctors! General strike now’ and ‘No cuts! No closures! kick this government out!’ Despite a week-long occupation led by the West London Council of Action, the maternity department was shut down on July 1 2015.
The Charlie Chaplin children’s ward on floor ten of Ealing hospital was shut on June 30 2016. To the anger of local residents, floor ten of Ealing hospital is now being turned into offices. Next year, they plan to shut the A&E services at Ealing. This is being furiously opposed by the local community and NHS workers alike.
Equity member David Girt, who came down to the picket as Charlie Chaplin said: ‘I am here to build a better world where offices are less important than children’s wards and people come before profits.’
Dr Savani told News Line: ‘They are planning to close the A&E bit by bit. They removed the children’s ward and closed down the maternity ward. We have to fight for this hospital.’
Junior doctor and BMA member Sam Reade said: ‘We are fighting the oppression that this government is putting on the unions. They are threatening to close down our A&E. If that happened the other services in the area would not be able to cope. Different unions are put into struggle at different times. We have to join these struggles together.’
Rowan Parks, a nurse in the RCN union, said: ‘They need to keep all the wards open for all the people of this area. This is a public service. We are all paying our taxes, we are paying for this service. Why should we have to travel twenty miles just to use an A&E or maternity? That is why my union RCN needs to take action.’
Laura Gale, an NHS therapist working at Ealing, told News Line: ‘We need the NHS and we need our services. As long as there are people who need care we are obliged to provide that care. There will always be people who need care and that is why these services must remain.’
Deon Gayle came from Brixton to join the picket, she said: ‘I have come down to support the campaign to re-open the maternity and the children’s ward at Ealing hospital. There needs to be strike action. The unions need to get off their seats and fight! The other unions need to come out and support the junior doctors as well!’