‘OCCUPY to save Ealing Hospital, the time to act is now,’ Bill Rogers, train driver, chairman of Chingford ASLEF Branch and Secretary of the North East London Council of Action said yesterday morning, speaking on the picket line outside the closure-threatened west London hospital.
Midwives told News Line that they are already being shifted out by the management in preparation for the complete closure of the maternity department planned for 1st July. One said: ‘It’s awful. We’re leaving in three batches, one went a week ago, the second batch goes today and the third are going at the end of next week, with a new set of midwives from other trusts being brought in to run things down.
‘I’m going to Hillingdon Hospital. I don’t want to go but what can I do?
‘The facilities are still here, it’s a top of the range maternity unit with all the equipment. All it needs is the staff, but they are getting rid of us. I think occupying is a good idea. Closure is wrong. The Southall women will have no nearby hospital. We’re all terribly sad about it.’
Another midwife said: ‘People have already started going, it’s terrible. They don’t listen. We would support an occupation and this maternity being saved. We are committed to our profession, helping women and babies, so we will support an occupation.’
Rogers told News Line: ‘I’ve come here because I support the West London Council of Action and their fight to defend Ealing Maternity and A&E. I’m opposed to all the privatisations and closures throughout the NHS.’
Local pensioner BS Sehgal told News Line: ‘Our GP in Southall always sends us here because it is a wonderful hospital. We can’t let it close.’
Maryanne Marchetti, a teacher, said: ‘I’m from the US and I know what it’s like to live in a system that has privatised healthcare, basically care only for the wealthy. We have to stop this closure because it’s all about privatising health. We need to prevent any privatisation. I hope to have a child in the next few years and I will need care close to where I live. It’s not as if the population around here is getting smaller, quite the opposite. I’m coming to the meeting and the march and I’m telling all my friends about it too.’