Published 17 September 2012
Traffic was brought to a standstill in parts of the borough on Saturday as residents marched in opposition to plans to cut hospital services in the area.
The march and rally was organised by the Save Our Hospitals campaign which is fighting NHS proposals to downgrade Ealing Hospital to a local hospital, stripping it of nine of the 11 major types of service currently provided on-site, including the A&E.
These proposals are part of a major restructure of NHS services in North West London which, if agreed, would see almost half of the hospitals in the region suffering a similar fate. Under the preferred option Charing Cross Hospital would also be downgraded to a local hospital, losing the same services as Ealing. Central Middlesex Hospital, which has already had its A&E unit reduced to a daytime-only service, would see the unit close permanently and it would also lose its intensive care unit. Hammersmith Hospital would no longer have major hospital status and would instead become a specialist hospital.
The protest march against the proposals travelled from both Southall Park and Acton Park and joined at Ealing Common where crowds took part in a rally.
Council leader Julian Bell said: Id like to thank everyone for turning up on Saturday and showing the NHS the strength of feeling against these plans. People in our borough will not accept these cuts and Id urge the NHS to drop these ill-thought-out plans now.
It beggars belief that the NHS think its acceptable to take away essential services including A&Es, intensive care, maternity and paediatric units and force sick people to travel further for regular treatment.
All political parties on Ealing Council oppose the proposals and councillors are urging anyone who lives or works in the borough to get behind the campaign to Save Our Hospitals by signing a petition and responding to the NHS consultation.