Monday, 23 November 2009

Whittington A&E closure outrage

Back in the summer I was blogging about the new polyclinic on Park Road, saying that local GPs were closing and that means longer journeys for sick people.

I've also blogged about the closure of so many of Haringey's hospitals and the fact that we have no A&E.

I'd heard a rumour a few months ago that the Whittington might close, or 'merge' with another hospital. It seemed unbelievable at the time.

Well, I've just got back from a heated 'Defend Haringey's Health Services' meeting, where the proposed closure of the Whittington's Accident and Emergency was the hot topic of the evening after the plans were announced last week.

Already Haringey residents have to travel out of the borough to get to A&E. If they had to go beyond the Whittington, to the Royal Free, that's another bus ride for a lot of people.

Anne Gray, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Tottenham, put it like this: "Green Lanes is an accident black spot. What's going to happen if you have a traffic accident there and need to be taken to the Royal Free? You're going to die."

It really is as stark as that.

The Government have been planning to close and outsource much of the NHS for years. The fact that they can now cite spending cuts and budget deficits is a handy excuse but not really a legitimate reason.

Tonight we planned a series of actions to protest against this plan. No doubt it will be wrapped up as a positive for patients in some devious way. It is for activists to point out, repeatedly, that this is a cut too far - that lives will be lost. By the time this goes out to 'consultation' it will probably be too late - the decision will be made. Now is the time for action.

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