‘WE’RE not going to let Chase Farm close,’ Bill Rogers, North East London Council of Action Secretary told News Line yesterday at a lively picket outside the hospital.
He said: ‘450,000 people are going to lose access to their hospital by the looks of things, if the so-called mergers in north London are allowed to take place.
‘There is now a big question-mark over the future of Barnet and North Middlesex Hospitals as well as Chase Farm.
‘We’ve also heard of the possibility that the Whittington is to be closed.
‘We are more determined than ever to save these hospitals and occupy to stop closures.
‘People should come to our next Council of Action meeting on 8th December. We will also be having a Christmas Picket on 22nd December.’
Student nurse Benedicta Commey said: ‘I would really like the hospital to keep running.
‘If they shut it I would not get a work placement and patients would have to go a long way to get treatment.
‘It would be dangerous for emergency patients.
‘We should stop them closing hospitals.
‘I agree with holding an occupation to keep Chase Farm open and to keep all the other hospitals open.
‘The government is not thinking about people, they are just thinking about the money, which is not a good thing.’
Hackney Young Socialist member Raj Ahilaraj told News Line: ‘I don’t like the way they are cutting the NHS and plan to close hospitals. I don’t want capitalism. It’s only for rich people, poor people don’t have a life.
‘I’m here to defend our hospitals and to keep a free NHS.’
A doctor at Chase Farm, Moustafa al-Saeed, said: ‘There should be acute services on site here, at Chase Farm.
‘There is a large population around here. I support a sit-in to keep these services open.’
Justelle Rugerama, a social work student, added: ‘It’s not good closing hospitals, we need them. If they close, unemployment will rise again.
‘The government says it wants to cut down on the recession, but how can they do that if they close things.
‘What will happen to the people, they’ve got families, children, mortgages. If they close down hospitals it will cost lives. I’ll support a sit-in to keep Chase Farm open.’
Enfield resident Maureen Giles said: ‘We had 10,000 people march through the streets in the summer and I feel we were ignored.
‘I was so angry they could ignore all these people and still say they are going to close all these departments.
‘We will keep this hospital open and running on all cylinders. The population of Enfield is growing. We’ll occupy if we have to.’
Chase Farm out-patient Ronald Berg added: ‘This hospital is the best around. They saved my dad’s life three years ago when he had an aneurism in his stomach and it burst.
‘They also sorted out my skin cancer, and my kids were born here. I don’t want to see Chase Farm closed.
‘No hospital should be closed, you can’t put a price on a person’s life. There should be a sit-in to stop the closure. I’d support it all the way.
‘The government is looking after the bankers, it’s all greed. I bet all these policians use the NHS, it must be kept open for all of us.’