Video thumbnail, undefined
Video Loading

Hundreds of campaigners descended on Hammersmith for a packed rally in support of the NHS.

More than 500 health workers, campaigners, politicians and patients attended the Defend London's NHS meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall on Tuesday (March 10).

It was organised by London Keep Our NHS Public and hosted by the Ealing and Hammersmith & Charing Cross branches of Save Our Hospitals (SOH).

The meeting heard from speakers including Guardian columnist Owen Jones, Hammersmith MP and SOH founder Andy Slaughter and Green Party health spokeswoman Dr Jillian Creasey.

Merril Hammer, chair of Hammersmith & Charing Cross SOH, said: “It was a great success. People came, they listened, they contributed money to the campaign, they signed petitions, they took away leaflets and showed a huge support for the NHS as a public-funded service. It was extremely successful.”

More than 500 people packed into Hammersmith Town Hall for the Defend London's NHS rally

The SOH campaign, which has dozens of core group activists and thousands on its mailing lists, was launched two years ago in response to the government's Shaping A Healthier Future initiative for north west London.

The group aims to fight against the privatisation of the NHS, as well as NHS closures and cuts.

Government cutbacks have led to the closure of A&Es at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals in west London, among other changes.

The coalition argues it is relieving the country’s under-pressure A&Es by focusing on prevention, but opponents say it is privatising the service at the cost of patient welfare.

Ms Hammer said: “In north west London they've already closed two out of nine A&Es and they're planning to close another two. They're planning to turn two of the major acute hospitals, Charring Cross and Ealing, into local hospitals, closing down major acute beds and A&E services.

“They're planning to sell off large parts of hospitals in north west London to private developers. So it's about saving the NHS from that. It's about saving it from increasing privatisation and saving it from the cuts that are unjustified.”