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'A battle we need to win' - More than 100 people to join protest bike ride against Ealing Hospital changes

Campaigners hope to protect "the heart of the community" against proposed changes to the hospital

A bike ride organised in protest against the proposed changes to services at Ealing Hospital will have more than 100 cyclists taking part on Sunday (October 1).

The event, which will start at 11am, will see a huge group of residents cycling from Ealing Hospital to Charing Cross Hospital to raise awareness of NHS proposals.

Ealing Hospital had its maternity services taken away in July 2015 and campaigners claim a decision to close the blue-light A&E services at the hospital is expected next year.

The claimed closure was branded “a disaster” by the organiser of the bike ride Tony McEvoy, who has urged other residents to support their “struggle to defend the NHS ”.

The 62-year-old Isleworth resident said: “Ealing Hospital covers the huge area of Southall and Ealing , and Charing Cross covers Hammersmith and Fulham .

“These are heavily populated areas and local people will not survive travelling long distances such as St Mary's at Paddington for health care.

“We think they are planning to close the A&E any time now, it was made clear in their Sustainability and Transformation Plans materials that they intend to close it anytime soon."

Protesters outside Ealing Hospital on Friday October 15(Image: Tony McEvoy)

“We will not let the A&E in Ealing Hospital close,” Mr McEvoy, who will take part on the seven-mile bike ride, added.

“We call upon the staff at the hospital to carry on working, we call upon the community to occupy to make sure that it does not close, and we demand that the trade unions take action to stop this hospital reducing services.”

The bike ride from one west London hospital to another is open for anyone who wishes to take part.

Save our Hospital campaigners, according to Mr McEvoy, have been fighting for a number of years, occupying the maternity department for a week before it was closed it two years ago.

Protesters marched in protest against the closure of the Paediatrics and Charlie Chaplin ward in Ealing Hospital last summer.

(Image: Ealing Gazette)

Mr McEvoy added: “The hospital means everything to us, it's the heart of the community.

“The cyclists taking part are doing it as a statement of commitment to stop this closure from taking place, we have to be ready to be ready for them to do it at a moment's notice.

“We know this is a battle that we need to win – the NHS was founded in struggle and it's going to be defended in struggle.”

Protesters at Ealing Hospital

Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils have launched a petition to protest the plans and are urging all those who live and work in the area to sign ahead of the deadline in early 2018.

The bike ride on Sunday (October 1) will come one day after rallies around the borough for Ealing Hospital.

A march will start from Southall Park at 11am and Acton Park at 11.30am, meeting at Ealing Common for a major rally from 1pm on Saturday (September 30).

Rallies to be held across Ealing against plans to change services at hospital

A spokesman from London North West Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Over the next few years we will be looking at where we can best provide services for residents, including GP practices, the community and hospital.

"New services will be developed and some existing services will change.

"No changes will be made until new community services are up and running and will talk to residents.”

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