Save Our Hospitals is a resident-led campaign group formed in July 2012. We are FIGHTING against the NHS plans to DEMOLISH Charing Cross Hospital and downgrading of our A&Es( Hammersmith, Charing Cross, Ealing and Central Middlesex Hospitals)
Sunday, 28 February 2016
Acting icon Vanessa Redgrave hits out at hospital unit closures at meeting
The celebrated actress spoke at a meeting discussing the future of Charing Cross Hospital and NHS plans for North West London.
Celebrated actress Vanessa Redgrave spoke out in favour of taking the government to court in a bid to stop controversial changes being made to health care services in north west London.
She addressed a meeting called by Hammersmith and Fulham Council on Tuesday evening (February 23) to discuss the findings and ramifications of the Independent Healthcare Report it commissioned with four other Labour administrations looking at the impact of the NHS ’s Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF).
Her comments came as council leader Stephen Cowan told the meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall that he had started the ball rolling to halt the controversial plans by legal means.
Members of the crowd show their support for Charing Cross Hospitals and junior doctors
Oscar-winner and stage legend Ms Redgrave called a judicial review into the NHS plans “vital” and said the battle could be taken to the European Court of Human Rights.
SaHF aims to provide a better, more joined-up health and social care across North West London, that always puts the patient first.
The meeting, held in the packed out Small Hall, was chaired by H&F’s head of health Vivienne Luckey. On the panel joining her and Cllr Cowan were report commissioners Dr Stephen Hirst and Dr John Lister, and Save Our Hospitals chairman Patrick Barron.
He branded Jeremy Hunt “possibly the worst public health secretary in my lifetime” and warned: “We will do everything we can to save our hospital, and if that means taking our government to court that is exactly what we will do.
“We will sue them and we will JR (judicial review) them. There’s nothing we won’t do to save our hospital.”
Tories 'not the bad guys'
Dr Hirst warned of the tactic of “hollowing out” where institutions are told they could be closed, leading to fewer people applying to work there and standards dropping. “In this way you are precipitating the closure,” he said.
Dr Lister said the NHS had failed to provide a business plan despite several requests, and the closure of units without adequate replacement had placed huge pressure on other hospitals.
He also disputed NHS claims the changes were “clinically led”, which was backed by a junior doctor who believed “the majority are wholeheartedly opposed to it”.
Dr Stephen Hirst addresses the meeting on the future of Charing Cross Hsopital. On the panel are (l-r) Patrick Barron, chairman of the Save Our Hospitals , council leader Stephen Cowan, H&F head of health Vivienne Luckey and report commissioner Dr John Lister
Attending the meeting was opposition spokesman for health Andrew Brown . He said the commission’s report raised important and valid points, and there was huge respect for the campaign to protect health services. But he felt the Labour group was wrong to paint the Conservatives as the bad guys.
He said: “While many individuals and the vast majority are here on an apolitical basis to protect our hospital, there is clearly an undercurrent behind the behaviour of the leadership. The focus of their opposition is the government when really the decision makers in this process is the NHS.
And rightly so, I would rather that the future decisions are taken by the NHS in corroboration with the public.
“Cllr Cowan has said that there is nothing he wouldn’t do to defend Charing Cross but not once has he come to us to work with us to try to influence the NHS.”