HUNDREDS of protesters are expected to march today in defence of two “vital” accident and emergency departments in north London that are threatened with closure.
The departments at risk are at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, where more than 500 beds are set be axed across the two sites.
Under the Shaping a Healthier Future proposals, there will be no critical care, acute beds, blue-light ambulances, A&E, maternity unit or children’s ward in either hospital.
The remaining urgent care centre at Ealing Hospital will be led by GPs, rather than consultants.
With maternity and children’s A&E services already closed at Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham council leader Steve Cowan said the latest campaign was “so important.”
He warned: “With growing waiting times and hard-pushed staff, the threat from local health bosses to cut NHS services even further … is a real danger to the health and wellbeing of the borough.”
Ealing council leader Julian Bell said it was “nonsensical” to cut vital services when A&E waiting times in north-west London were already among the worst in the country.
GMB Ealing branch secretary Taranjit Chana said the cuts “will have a devastating impact upon the communities who live there. This government has shown no regard to the human impact.”
She urged people to support today’s demonstration in solidarity with all those who work in the NHS.
“It is only with the strength of people power that we can challenge and change the existing order of this government’s decimation of our NHS services.”
The marchers will meet at Southall Park at 11am or Acton Park at 11.30am. The rally on Ealing Common starts at 1pm.