Southall Black Sisters (SBS) joined nearly a thousand protestors on Saturday 15th September 2012 to challenge the proposed closure of emergency services at Ealing hospital. Two marches from Southall Park and Acton Park converged in Ealing Common in a whole day of action. If the NHS re-organisation plans go ahead, Accident & Emergency services at Ealing hospital and three other hospitals in north-west London – Charing Cross, Hammersmith and Central Middlesex – will also be affected. Labour MPs Steve Pound and Virendra Sharma and Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, also joined in the march.
SBS formed a loud and vibrant section of a large and colourful demonstration; we sang songs and chanted slogans in Hindi in support of the NHS generally. The government believes that its reforms of the NHS are necessary and that bigger hospitals will provide better emergency care but we believe that this argument is simply used to disguise its real motive, which is to dismantle the NHS and to privatise health care. As an organisation that responds to black and Asian women victims of domestic violence, we believe the closure of these services will be life-threatening for many women who already face often insurmountable, barriers to accessing timely services.
In our day to day casework, we make constant use of the A&E services at Ealing hospital as a referral point for women who have been subject to physical and other forms of abuse. Without this service, extremely vulnerable women will not be able to report their experiences of abuse or receive emergency treatment. This will have enormous impact on their ability to exercise their rights or obtain police or court protection which is dependent on quality and timely evidence.
SBS also believes that removing local A&E services will impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in Ealing but it will disproportionately impact on BME communities, mainly because of the close proximity of Southall to Ealing hospital.
SBS is a proud supporter of the local ‘Save our hospitals’ campaign. We believe that the right to access free, quality health care is a fundamental right and the NHS is an ideal that is worth fighting for.
Save our Hospitals Hammersmith Demonstration – Sat 6th October – The March will start from Shepherds Bush Green (Rockley Road) at 12 noon and march to Lillee Road Rec, where there will be a rally and speeches at about 1.30pm. The Save our Hospitals campaign in Ealing is asking everyone who can to support the Hammersmith demonstration. There will be banners from the SOH Ealing Campaign and Ealing Trades Union Council. The campaigns states that ‘it would be a big boost to the overall campaign to save all 4 A&E’s if this is also a big campaign and help to increase the pressure on NWL NHS and the Government’.
Ealing TUC Public Meeting 7.30pm,Tuesday 9th October,Ealing Town Hall – Speakers include Dr Louise Irving, BMA Council member and ‘Keep our NHS Public’; Nick Grant, NUT National Executive, and Mick Brooks, Campaigning Economist, who will talk about the alternatives to the Government’s policy of austerity and cuts.
The national TUC demonstration on Sat October 20th aims to bring together trade unions, community & health campaigners to protest against the Government’s austerity measures that are slashing jobs, welfare, education, NHS & other public services and impoverishing many people. Local meeting point at Ealing Broadway at 10.30am
The Daily Mail ‘Stop the Casulty Closures’ Campaign. Thousands of people have signed the protest message to Jeremy Hunt in the Mail – so if you haven’t seen it, download the coupon to send off at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2203809/A-E-shutdown-farce-backlash-begins.html
Image credit and copyright: Southall Community Alliance