news

Ealing maternity campaigners prepare for sit-in as 'time for protests and petitions' comes to end

The West London Council of Action say they will stage a sit-in at Ealing Hospital for as long as it takes until the decision to close the maternity unit changes

The West London Council of Action is calling on people to join in a sit-in at Ealing Hospital until the decision to close the maternity unit is reversed.

The group, which is a branch organised by The Workers Revolutionary Party in Ealing, say the fight to save a vital service has “gone beyond protests and petitions” and that physical action needs to be taken.

They are calling on the community to join a march on Wednesday (June 24) - the unit’s closing day - which ends at Ealing Hospital where they plan to stay.

Davie Wiltshire, of the West London Council of Action, said: “They are not hanging around and they are not going to be persuaded by marches - we have gone through that.

“It’s a real attack on the community of Ealing and, quite frankly, the time for talking has finished.

“Hospitals belong to the community, they are not the property of the Government and we have to fight to defend them, we have to take this struggle forward ourselves."

Speaking: Davie Wiltshire

He added: “We are going to go in there to occupy it, and it’s not illegal as long as you don’t interfere with its services. Let’s take it over.

“We are in for a fight for as long as it takes to win, no matter how long. We will organise rotas 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year if it takes that long, but we do not think it will. The struggle to defend Ealing Hospital has too many friends.”

Scott Dore, a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party, said: “This is a matter of life and death.

“When they announced dates for closure, did they consider the position women are going to be in? Do they expect them to give birth in the street or at home?

“We are saying we are not going to be scared and we are not going to move an inch. We are not going to accept this closure, we are going to stay there until the maternity unit is kept open.”

Scott Dore, from the Workers Revolutionary Party, speaks at the meeting

MP for Hayes & Harlington John McDonnell is backing the occupation.

At a meeting, called by the West London Council of Action on Tuesday (June 16), he said: “The community up until now have been superb.

“We have argued and protested and it has not worked. If occupation is the only way we can protect our services, then so be it.

“If people are willing to stand up, occupy and take direct action, we should offer them support and solidarity. That’s why I’m here to offer solidarity in the coming months.”

Speaking: MP for Hayes & Harlington John McDonnell

A spokeswoman for Shaping a Healthier Future - the organisation behind the changes to health services in west London, including the maternity unit closere - said: “Campaigners absolutely have the right to protest peacefully as they have done before but any occupation of Ealing Hospital would be both dangerous and unfair for patients and staff.

“Antenatal and postnatal care will still be provided in the borough of Ealing with many women now able to receive that care even closer to home.

“By consolidating maternity care across six hospitals in north-west London, there will be more senior consultant cover in the maternity units, more midwives able to give 1:1 care for women, a move towards 24/7 consultant cover on the labour wards, and greater investment in home birth teams.”

The West London Council of Action is assembling at 11am on Wednesday (June 24) in Beresford Road, off Southall Broadway, for a 12 noon start along Uxbridge Road and on to Ealing Hospital.

View full mobile page