|'Now Is The Time' To Save Our Hospitals|
Appeal for local residents to join major protest tomorrow
The 'Save our Hospitals' public protest will gather in both Acton and Southall before marching to Ealing Common where a major rally will take place Saturday 27th April.
Meena Toor met some of the main political players at the Vaisakhi Mela and spoke to them about the campaign and march:
London Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon, Dr. Onkar Sahota, leading the 'Save Ealing Hospital' campaign, says this march will be the last and most important stage of the communal campaign:
" Ealing's Labour Council has sent an appeal to the Secretary of State saying we’re not happy. Jeremy Hunt, can put an end to this. We need to show him the public of West London do care about their hospital, do care about health service, and, if we turn up in large numbers, he will listen.
"If Ealing Hospital is closed, a community that has difficulty with language, difficulty with transport will be affected. From Southall to Northwick Park, which is the nearest hospital, is one hour forty-five minutes one way.
"Now is the time to react. Once you start the process of closure, it’s very difficult to reverse it. As soon the decision is made, staff will start leaving, nurses will start losing confidence, and patients will start losing confidence."
“There’s no point saying maybe Labour will come and reverse it in 2015, we need to have something to be saved. If we don’t get Labour back in 2015, the NHS will be unrecognisable. If we leave it until 2020, there’ll be nothing left to save."
Labour's views were echoed by GMB, the general trade union affiliated with the party, who were out talking to the community members at the Vaisakhi Mela.
GMB Branch Secretary for Ealing, Dean Gilligan, gave his thoughts on the situation:
“Very clearly, Ealing hospital is Ealing’s hospital and Southall’s hospital —the hospital of the third most diverse borough in Britain. We have a big problem with TB in Southall and huge problem with the language barrier – especially for the elderly.
“We met with faith leaders and community groups. It is a community rally, representing a community fighting to save their A&E. If we take that away, people stay at home and will not seek the best medical attention. On bus routes, there is no direct link to Hillingdon Hospital, the closest one.”
Yesterday’s GDP results came out confirming a narrow triple-dip miss for the economy, yet the figures showed a substantial decline in construction, with growth down by 2.5% in three months. Considering the plans to level the hospital to build new houses, would this not help the economy?
“There will be 7000 potential job losses on the NHS, plus the 2 million people without an A&E. Yes, GDP and construction is down. To my mind, it’s a social housing problem. Hammersmith is a fine example – there has been bulldozing in areas like Earls Court and Shepherd's Bush, but this is not for social housing.
“Only 1% is for this purpose. The contractors and builders that the government are bringing in are ensuring that most of money is going out of the country. Meanwhile elderly people are living longer, without facilities. An idea that has not been considered is to reduce consultants and add more nurses, as hospitals run on care.”
From the community spirit shown last Sunday in Hounslow, there's another call to the community for support.
Dean urges everyone: ''Come this Saturday, I will say GMB and Labour of Ealing will have done all they could have done. We hope the community join us once more.''
The march from Southall will meet at Southall Park at 11.30am, while the march from Acton will meet at Acton Park at 12.30pm. The rally will then begin at Ealing Common at 2pm.
Social media fans can use #gmbsoh to tweet during the event, and participants can follow Dean Gilligan on @deangilli6 for the latest information.
Further details about the campaign can be found at www.ealing.gov.uk/soh
April 26th 2013