Around 200 health campaigners marched to defend health services at Ealing Hospital last Saturday. Two marches - one from Southall Park and one from Acton - joined together for a protest at Ealing Common.
The protest was called by the Labour-run council and supported by the Ealing Save Our NHS campaign.
Health campaigners are fighting proposals to axe the accident and emergency department and 500 beds at Ealing Hospital.
If the Tories push through the attack, patients will be forced to travel further and have their safety put at risk.
Local patient Jaswinder told Socialist Worker, “I use the hospital often and have to take my 88 year old mother there too. That’s alright because Ealing Hospital is close to us, but if it moves how am I going to keep doing that?”
Th planned cuts are part of a long-standing plan to run down services at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals and the Tories' Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). Both the Labour-run councils in Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham refused to sign off on the local STP. It follows strong, local campaigns that have previously mobilised thousands onto the streets.
Benison Chia, a local Labour Party member and patient, told Socialist Worker, “The Tory government is a cuts government. In other countries if people need health care, they have to pay for it, but we can’t have that here.
“People need the NHS—we need to defend it.”
It’s important that the local Labour councils are part of the campaign and that the Labour leadership has pledged to “renatioanlise” the NHS. But we cannot wait for the next general election—the Tory attacks are happening now.
Campaigning has bogged down the Tories’ attempts to steam-roll the STPs through. It will take further campaigning—and action by the health unions—to stop the assault on the NHS.