Determined campaigners shouting "no cuts, no closure, defend Ealing maternity" marched on their way to occupy the unit.

About 50 people, joined by others along the route to Ealing Hospital, were heard chanting "Ealing maternity do not close", "no privatisation, defend the NHS", "Ealing maternity is due to close today, we can not allow this to happen" and "come and join us please".

Wednesday's march (June 24) followed by a planned occupation of the maternity ward was organised by the West London Council of Action- a branch of the Workers Revolutionary Party- who say they will stay for as long as it takes, until the decision to close the service today is reversed.

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Scott Dore, member of the Workers Revolutionary Party, said: "Although the turnout was not what we expected, it's still a solid march because people feel strongly about the maternity being shut.

"Our position will not change. We are still ready to occupy and save the maternity unit."

Workers Revolutionary Party member Aminata Selle travelled from south east London to join the march because she knows the difficulty of childbirth.

She said: "I am a woman and I have children and I know what it means when you're in pain to travel a long way. It's not fair."

West London Council of Action member Paul Lepper, 26, said they are trying to lead the way with the occupation and hopes it will inspire people around the country to do the same in departments that are under threat of closure because "we are all in this together".

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Bill Rogers, a member of the North East London Council of Action, said they did a similar thing at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield in February 2013, peacefully occupying in order to try and save the maternity and A&E.

He said: "Riot police dragged us out after four hours. Although both units were closed we still think what we did was correct.

"We need trade unions to stand up."

Several members of the Indians Workers Revolution based in Southall also joined the march. Dalwinder Atwal said they were there for the cause, for what people want.

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.”