The Independent London Newspaper

 

25,000 fight for the Whittington Hospital

MP Jeremy Corbyn with Whittington protesters

Published: 30 July, 2010
by TOM FOOT

CAMPAIGNERS fighting cuts to the NHS delivered a petition of more than 25,000 thousand signatures to the Department of Health yesterday (Thursday).

The Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition has swung back into action after NHS bureaucrats revealed their proposals to dismantle the Archway hospital were not dead and buried.

DWHC chairwoman Shirley Franklin said: “We are talking about disgusting, horrible and frightening changes to the NHS. We stand for no cuts, no privatisation, no closures and also against any cuts to the mental health service.”

The battle to save the Whittington appeared to have been won in May when Conservative health secretary Andrew Lansley was filmed by the Tribune saying: “I can say the Whittington A&E department, if I am secretary of state, will be saved.”

Since winning the election, he has revealed in a white paper plans to devolve NHS spending decisions to GPs.

And now health bosses have said they could resurrect their north London hospital closure plan if GPs – who will be facing up to huge budget problems – agree.

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn said: “Where is the democratic accountability in all of this? 

“In Islington, there will be one or two commissioning agents – and this will probably be handed over to private companies, which will take over the running of the NHS. Problems will develop.”

He added: “We are talking about the large-scale privatisation – we need to let them know this is our NHS and it is not for sale.”

Mr Corbyn flagged up the Whittington threat in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Monday where he called for ministers to stop “messing with the NHS” and “return it to democratic accountability”.

Islington Council deputy leader Cllr Richard Greening told campaigners the Labour Council will be “out with you on the streets all the way”, adding: “Do we believe GPs are any more likely to keep an A&E open than public officials?”

• To join the campaign see www.dwhc.org

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