Socialist Worker

Fury at ward closures

by Yuri Prasad
Issue No. 2250

Protesting against the proposed closure of the day ward in Waltham Forest (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Protesting against the proposed closure of the day ward in Waltham Forest (Pic: Socialist Worker)

NHS campaigners in east London last week reacted with fury to health authority plans to close the Connaught Day Hospital at Whipps Cross hospital in Waltham Forest.

Health bosses say the ward, which specialises in the treatment of elderly patients, may be “scaled down” or closed altogether.

They are expected to announce their decision this month.

Over 80 health workers, patients and NHS campaigners gathered outside the hospital on Thursday of last week to defend the ward.

Ena Abrahams, an 87-year-old patient has led the fightback against plans to shut the Connaught.

She told the protest, “The Connaught Day Hospital is one of the rare places that takes a holistic approach to patient care.

“If they close it, we would probably find some private firm moving into the building.”

Ena was delighted that a group of workers from the Connaught joined the protest. She thanked them for all the work they have done.

One of them told the crowd, “This is not just about our jobs, it is about defending our service.

“There is very little out there for elderly people—they deserve better. After all, they founded the NHS.”

Local Labour MP John Cryer sent a message of support to the protest.

Passing motorists beeped their horns or cheered and waved as they passed by.

There was a good delegation of other workers from Whipps Cross on the protest with their union banners.

Unison branch chair Charlotte Munro warned that other cuts were in the pipeline at the hospital.

“Staff care a lot and are prepared to stand up for the NHS,” she said.

Many campaigners pledged their support for the demonstration against the Tories’ health bill on Tuesday 17 May.

Ena Abrahams

“Many people who, like myself, use the Connaught ward are among those who lived through the Second World War. We fought for the creation of the NHS and we’ve paid for it all our lives. Now the health bosses want to marginalise us—and our needs. They think we’re unlikely to fight back. Well they’re wrong about that.”

OUR HEALTH SERVICE NOT FOR SALE—March to save the NHS, Tuesday 17 May, 5.30pm, University College Hospital, Gower Street, London WC1. March to the Department of Health, Whitehall.

Called by London Keep Our NHS Public and backed by the Unite union. Health workers should wear their uniforms.


Public meetings organised by Keep Our NHS Public

CAMDEN: Monday 9 May, 7pm, Camden Town Hall, Judd St, London WC1. With Frank Dobson MP.

HARINGEY: Monday 9 May, 7.30pm, Chestnuts Community Centre, St Ann’s Rd, N15 5BN. With Dr Ron Singer and Janet Shapiro.

WALTHAM FOREST: Tues 10 May, 7.30pm, Quaker Meeting House, 1a Jewel Rd, Walthamstow E17. With John Cryer MP, Ena Abrahams, and Dr Ron Singer.

ISLINGTON: Thursday 12 May, 7pm, Archway Methodist Hall, Archway Close, London N19 3TD. With MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 3 May 2011, 18:14 BST
Issue No. 2250
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.