Save Our Hospitals Rally

The view from one Southall protester

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Young and old came out onto the streets from all over Southall. There were many older people who would normally not be seen on demonstrations. Orange banners from the GMB and SWP placards sprinkled the demonstration stating ‘save our hospitals’.

Others joining the demonstration were the Ealing Trades Council, Newsline (calling for a general strike), councillors, MPs, hospital doctors, campaign to save Lewisham hospital. The march started in Southall Park led by a Jeep and some drummers and ended with a rally in Ealing Common. Although there was supposed to be a coach for the frail, ill and elderly it was nowhere in sight at the start of the demonstration. Eventually when some of the elderly women found the coach and tried to confront the driver in the hope of sitting in the bus, the driver refused to even open the door to them.

Although the march had been widely publicised – almost every other small shop in Acton, Ealing, Hounslow and Southall had displayed the leaflet publicising the march…there had been no leaflets translated into other languages. There were very few people from the Somali community.

Despite all this, the general feeling was extreme anger at the proposed plans. Speaker after speaker repeated the government’s failure to listen to the people….the people who have a right to health care, government’s failure to put people before profits, government’s failure to provide a health service for the people and instead line the pockets of private health companies, private land developers waiting to strip the National Health Service. Unfortunately there were too few women speakers and no Asian or African women speakers at the rally.

The decision is now rests in the hands of Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Health, after Ealing council refused to accept the decision.

The pressure is on now to mobilise for the next major all-london demonstration on Saturday 18th May. Sponsored by Unite, GMB and Keep our NHS public the demonstration will be demanding to ‘save our hospitals’ and saying ‘no to privatisation’. Across London nine Accident and Emergency departments and a number of maternity units are at risk of closure. Let’s find new ways to reach the patients, workers and migrant communities and strengthen the people’s resistance. Together we must wipe out the forces backing privatisation and profits.

Sarbjit Johal


April 29th 2013