THERE was a lively picket of both gates at Chase Farm Hospital yesterday morning by the North-East London Council of Action, demonstrating to stop the hospital’s closure.
The picket took place in the wake of an announcement that there will be 250 redundancies at Barnet and Chase Farm and that the future of the A&E is being reviewed again, with threats to replace it with an Urgent Treatment Centre and to close the Maternity Department too.
Angie Marino, a nursery school teacher, said: ‘We have nowhere else if they close our A&E and Maternity.
‘The government spends money on stupid things like bonuses for themselves and their banker friends.
‘They should spend it on the NHS.
‘People would have to travel miles.
‘It is a life and death issue if you can’t get to an A&E in time to save your life if it’s too far away.
‘They’re taking out of ordinary people’s pockets to pay for their crisis and they’re not taking out of their own pockets.’
George Andreas, a patient at Chase Farm, said: ‘I want to see the A&E open because it is the nearest to the community here.
‘I use it all the time and the hospital’s been very good to me.’
Darren Stead, who was going into the hospital because he injured his back at work, said: ‘I think it’s disgraceful. A lot of people are old or have kids or are single parents.
‘They can’t be traipsing everywhere when there is a hospital on their doorstep.
‘People should sit in and occupy it to stop it closing.
‘I have got three kids all born at Chase Farm.
‘Where are they going to go in an emergency?
‘The A&E is packed every day. They can’t go to Barnet, it’s too far away.’
John O’Brien said: ‘We live locally. If this A&E closes, our nearest one will be Harlow.
‘We live in Cheshunt and there is no transport from Cheshunt to Barnet.’
Maureen Giles, who has been regularly attending the monthly pickets by the Council of Action, said: ‘We have been fighting against the closure of the A&E for the past three and a half years.
‘I’m continuing to attend the monthly pickets and I will support an occupation of the hospital to prevent its closure.’