whittington-badgeUp to 5,000 North Londoners walked the length of Holloway Road  to protest against the proposed closure of the Whittington Hospital Accident and Emergency unit writes Andy Bain, President of TSSA the rail worker's union. Visit the campaign website. Sign the petition.
Peoples organisations are well aware of the fight they have to reverse the decision made by unaccountable health trust managers behind closed doors.  The first speaker at the rally, Jackie Davis, Whittington consultant for 25 years, praised the hard work of the staff and the huge support from the community.  She said the real consultation was demonstrated by number of locals who had braved the rain to protest.

Amongst the 17 speakers were trade unionists from the hospital, others showing solidarity, community organisations and 3 MPs from the area.  Jeremy Corbyn saw it as his job to defend this hospital and the wider NHS which was 'the most civilised thing we have in the country'.  He spoke of the powerful forces that want to get their hands on the large amounts of money spent on health.  Frank Dobson, who had previously played a role in improving A & E at the hospital named after Dick Whittington, mocked the 'dick heads' who had made the decision to close the unit.

Some speakers claimed that the A & E closure could be the start of the scaling down of the hospital while the suggested alternative local clinics were merely proposals from the profit hungry decision makers who could not be trusted.  This was further illustrated by one speaker who definined PFI as Profiting From Illness.

Dr Wendy Savage, of Keep the NHS Public, called for a coordinated London-wide campaign to take on the several trusts which were making decisions based only on their own finances.

Gary Heather, chair of Islington Trades Council, pointed out that workers are gagged in the workplace but that their trade unions and the local solidarity from other trade unions protects them.

The organisers of the demonstration will now prepare for the public consultation and a groundswell of public opinion is expected to lead to some real peoples power on the streets of North London.