'Don't Pension Off The NHS'

Health Service marks birthday this week with series of events

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The NHS will be 65 years old on Friday (5th July).

The celebrations will be used by local protesters and Ealing Council to raise awareness against planned closures of A&E departments in North West London - including Ealing.

Meena Toor discusses the upcoming events.

The Save Our Hospitals campaign which saw hundreds taking to the streets of Ealing back in April, has been organised with the support of Ealing Council.

This Friday (5th July) residents and protest groups are once again gathering – celebrating this year’s NHS anniversary and preparing for the upcoming Independent Review.

The planned events are varied in imagination and ambition.

At Ealing Hospital, between 12am - 2pm, Ealing Trade Union Council and Ealing Hospital Staff Side Union are hosting a birthday event outside Ealing Hospital. TUC organiser, Eve Turner, says “there will be balloons, singing, speeches and a big birthday cake” and this is open to all residents.

The Ealing Hospital celebration will follow an earlier political protest by the GMB Union at 11am, taking place at Whitehall and Parliament square. A source confirms that this protest – dubbed the “NHS fly-by” – will raise attention by flooding Whitehall with vintage working ambulances, to mark the NHS occasion and tell the visual story of the history of the ambulance.

Save Our Hospital Ealing organisers will join the GMB in Whitehall, and deliver large birthday cards to the Ministry of Health at 1pm. Community groups are reported to be creating cards to sign and provide on the day. Ealing residents can also take part in the big card signing, by bringing their own to Ealing Hospital from 12pm.

Newly appointed organiser of ‘Save our Hospitals Ealing’, Dr. Aysha Raza, says this event has “brought together lots of different outfits that were working on their own before, getting more people aware of what’s going on.'' She says the groups have done a fantastic job.

Yet, while these protests could be interpreted as merely the ‘next batch’, Dr. Raza says that the activity in July marks the “final stand” for Ealing Hospital, which is undergoing its two-week Independent Review from the 8th July. The Independent Review will decide factors for keeping or closing Ealing Hospital.

Dr Raza says Friday’s event marks the beginning of a borough-wide marketing initiative, with residents receiving campaign information about the Independent Review Panel and the changes affecting Ealing Hospital.

In addition, campaign stands will be setup at Acton carnival, Ealing broadway, Greenford Broadway, on Saturday 6th July.

Residents can discuss the planned changes with campaign organisers.

Dr. Aysha Raza says that we “don’t want to pension the NHS off at 65, we want it going for another 65 years.”


Meena Toor
Follow on Twitter: @journomeena

2nd July 2013