NHS campaigners from Save Our Hospitals and from Ealing Save Our NHS held a lively lunchtime rally in Lyric Square Hammersmith on Saturday May 4th to celebrate the saving of Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals as major acute hospitals.
However, speakers at the rally who, in addition to campaigners from Hammersmith and Ealing included MP Andy Slaughter and Steve Cowan leader of H&F Council, condemned the scandalous plans by H&F health bosses to cut more than £30m in this financial year from the local health budget.
Initially people in the borough are facing cuts to dementia services, stroke provision, cardiology services, dermatology services and gynaecology services in the community. It is also proposed that financial savings will be made by cutting back night hours from Hammersmith Hospital Urgent Care Centre and by cutting medical hubs from the current three to 2 or even 1. And, on top of all this, GP after hours funding is being cut. The rally condemned these cuts as entirely unacceptable attacks on health provision.
Mention was also made of the digital service, Babylon GP at Hand which campaigners have just learned is taking out more than £20m and rising from local health budgets, thus undermining GP and other health services in the borough.
On a bright afternoon passers-by listened to speakers, took leaflets, signed petitions and engaged with campaigners. In particular passers-by enjoyed campaigners singing and a lively improvised communal dance. The high point was a die-in staged by SOH campaigners – many bloody and bandaged - demonstrating the damaging effects to our health were these cuts to go ahead.