Archive for March, 2010

Hospital campaigners vow to fight on

Saturday, March 27th, 2010
CAMPAIGNERS are calling for protests against plans to axe King George Hospital’s A&E to carry on, after the government put the controversial proposals on ice.A move to shift A&E and maternity services at the Barley Lane, Goodmayes, hospital to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, will be looked at by an independent panel.

The surprise announcement was made on Wednesday, by Minister of State for Health Services Mike O’Brien, after he toured the under-threat departments.

John Lister, of pressure group Health Emergency and author of the British Medical Association report which criticised the proposals, said: “It shows that if you don’t clamour, your hospital will close down.

“But the fight is still on and campaigners need to keep the pressure on.

“If that ebbs away, the hospital could still close, so it’s important that campaigners and councillors give all the information to the review and keep up the level of feeling.”

A 16-week consultation on the plans, drawn up by Health for North East London, ended on Monday after a clutch of protests, roadshows and public meetings.

Andy Walker, who led a protest march from the hospital to Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, in February, and together with a delegation presented a petition against the plans to 10 Downing Street, said the announcement was a “step in the right direction”.

Mr Walker, of Blythswood Road, Seven Kings, added: “I would expect the campaign would still continue and would encourage people to still attend our public meeting on Sunday and our march in April.

“The meeting begins at noon and is at St Paul’s Church, Barley Lane, Goodmayes – and will be followed by a protest march on Saturday, April 17, from Little Heath, opposite Redbridge College and at the junction of Barley Lane and Chadwell Heath Lane.”

Wendy Savage, of pressure group Keep our NHS Public, said: “I am delighted that Mike O’Brien has decided to support this.

“I don’t think it is a cynical election ploy, but it is a fantastic victory for the protesters and hopefully this will encourage them to believe they can make a difference.