Socialist Worker

Thousands march to save Whittington hospital

by Yuri Prasad
Issue No. 2190

The Whittington protest (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Whittington protest (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Around 5,000 protesters took to the streets of Islington, north London, this afternoon to defend key services under threat at Whittington hospital.

Numbers on the march swelled as a large turnout from the local community was boosted by trade unionists from across the capital.

And, in a show of unity, health workers from the Whittington were joined by colleagues from a range of nearby hospitals.

Rita Drobines, a laboratory worker from the Royal Free hospital, came with a delegation from the Unite union.

She told Socialist Worker that it is vital that hospitals are not played off against each other.

“The services we provide are vital and any closures will mean job losses, longer waits for patients and greater difficulty for vulnerable people getting to and from our hospitals.

“We are already fighting compulsory redundancies at my hospital. All health workers must stand together,” she said.

Passing cars greeted the march with a constant blaring of horns and cheers, while local people continued joining the protest as it made its way from Highbury to the hospital.

Addressing the rally outside the Whittington, Jacky Davis, a doctor at the hospital for over 25 years, told health bosses that their plans to downgrade services would not be tolerated.

“You said you were going to consult local people about your plans,” she said, before pointing to the massive crowd. “Well, this is your local consultation”

Government minister David Lammy was one of several local MPs who joined the march.

He attempted to deflect anger at the cuts away from the government and towards “unelected health bosses”, telling a group of midwives on the protest that he wanted to “sack the managers.”

But speaking to the rally longstanding doctor and health campaigner Wendy Savage made it clear that the government cannot wash its hands of plans to close A&E departemtns in many parts of London.

“These cuts have come in the name of ‘rationalisation’,” she said. “That was the language used by Lord Darzi, who was appointed by the government.

“Now he has gone, and the bureaucrats are implementing his plans.

“We need a London-wide campaign to stop them,” she said.

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Article information

Sat 27 Feb 2010, 18:04 GMT
Issue No. 2190
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