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Women's Day protest against Ealing Hospital maternity closure
A GROUP of trade union members rallied outside Ealing Hospital on International Women's Day on Friday to protest against the proposed closure of the hospital’s maternity unit
About 20 of them, from the GMB union, braved the weather from 4-6 pm with banners, flags and megaphones to voice their anger at the proposal.
NHS North West London is planning to reduce the number of A&E, maternity and paediatric units at Ealing, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals.
The hospitals will be downsized as they were not considered financially viable in their current status in an NHS London study, published in February 2012.
Colin Standfield, chair of the Ealing SOS campaign, said he had questioned whether NHS managers had actually read the relevant documents concerning the downsizing plans. “No-one answered me,” he said.
Mr Standfield said the plan was full of blunders and silly schoolboy errors.
The protest group concentrated on part of the report which advises that home births are safe and to be recommended.
Home births are not usually suggested by doctors in case something goes wrong.
Councillor Sitarah Anjun said: “Ealing has the second highest Somalian population in London. Ealing Hospital is equipped to deal with female genital mutilation that is more prevalent in this community.
"What’s going to happen to the women in Ealing who suffer with FGM, where are they going to go?”
Maria Jennings, another protester, said: “Southall get diseases that no-one else has and no-one else can deal with.”
A colleague, Irene Ali, said: “We are practically entering a third world stage. It’s fine for the NHS bosses - they can rely on private treatment. They just don’t care about us.”
Ealing Council recently asked for the planned closure of the hospitals to be referred to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, meaning the decision will be delayed.
A further larger protest will be held on April 27.