Socialist Worker

Activists out to boost London march for NHS

by Sarah Ensor
Issue No. 2352

Protesters out to save Lewisham Hospital in south London this February

Protesters out to save Lewisham Hospital in south London this February (Pic: Julie Sherry)

NHS bosses in south west London announced plans to close two A&Es and cut maternity and children’s services, on Friday of last week.

The hospitals affected are Croydon, Epsom, St George’s, Kingston and St Helier. 

Under the “Better services, better value business case”, they also want to separate routine surgery off into a centre suitable for privatisation. 

The plans were set to be considered by seven clinical commissioning groups as Socialist Worker went to press. They will decide exactly where the axe is to fall. 

The final date to object fell the day before the announcement, so NHS campaigners in Kingston are demanding that the decision is postponed. 

Activists across London have called a demonstration on 18 May to defend the NHS.

The London regions of the Unison union and the Royal College of Nurses have both agreed to back it.


Rob Sale, a Unison member in Westminster, has been organising stalls outside workplaces. 

“Last Wednesday we were outside City Hall with Keep Our NHS Public and Unison leaflets getting people involved”, he told Socialist Worker. 

“We’re doing this every week and getting organised with Unite activists. On Wednesday 15 May we’ll be outside St Thomas’ Hospital.” 

Campaigners are already discussing what to do next after the march. 

Louise Irvine, GP and chair of Save Lewisham Hospital, told Socialist Worker, “We should have a national demo in the autumn. And I hope the Labour Party will commit to stopping hospital closures. 

“Ed Miliband hasn’t said anything about it, but the clinical reasons given for hospital closures are just window dressing for political and financial reasons. The Labour Party should say no.” 

Rob added, “I support a national demo. And I would support occupations over closures because I don’t think a march alone is going to do it.

“We need to keep building with local community organisations and disability groups now that Care UK have taken over the 111 helpline in north west London.”  

Defend London's NHS march Saturday 18 May, assemble 12 noon, Jubilee Gardens, Waterloo, London SE1. March to Department of Health and parliament.

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Article information

Tue 7 May 2013, 18:58 BST
Issue No. 2352
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