Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/753/16185
Whittington Hospital: Cuts plans leaked - anger pours!
People served by the Whittington Hospital in north London were shocked by downgrading plans leaked to local papers. These proposals could ultimately lead to the hospital's closure or merger with another.
Proposals include sacking between a third and a half of the workforce, reducing staffing numbers by as much as 570. The number of nurses would be reduced to 200 and inpatient beds halved to 177 and essential nurses' accommodation sold off, probably to land developers. The sale of the public land alone is intended to raise £17 million. All this in the name of efficiency!
A meeting was hastily organised on Tuesday 12 February. The meeting hall could hold 200 people. 500 turned up! Sound systems were erected in overspill rooms to ensure all could participate.
The organisers of the meeting invited members of the board to attend in order to explain themselves. But this sharpened anger expressed by ordinary residents, users and workers present. Speaker after speaker rose to condemn the cuts. The chair took a vote on the proposals. All but three people opposed the plans.
A demonstration is now planned for 16 March. Trade unions should put themselves at the head of this campaign to kick this hugely unpopular government together with their local cronies.
Kingston marches against closures
A vibrant turnout of 200 people marched from Kingston Hospital to Kingston town centre to protest at proposed hospital closures in south west London.
The protest was well received by the local community, who showed solidarity from cars and shops with honks and bouts of applause.
NHS South West London's plan to close two of the five hospitals in the region threatens Kingston Hospital's A&E, paediatric and maternity services.
The move is part of government policy to cut frontline public services and privatise the most profitable aspects of the NHS.
With no concern for the health and wellbeing of people in the local community, it is no doubt that moves like this will inflict real harm on the most vulnerable.
Speeches called for growing the movement locally, to increase the pressure on the local council and NHS South West London.
PCS civil service union officer Tracy Edwards called for further union support in campaigns to defend the NHS, highlighting that coordinated national demonstrations are critical.
In The Socialist 20 February 2013:
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