500 demonstrate outside Lewisham hospital to say: this fight is not over

At six hour's notice, 500 people protested outside Lewisham hospital on 31 January against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's announcement of devastating cuts and closures.

Hunt is proposing big cuts across the NHS in South London, a major downgrading of the A&E to make it little more than an urgent care unit, and closure of the maternity unit. This is a decision that bears the imprint of the massive campaign in Lewisham, in that the A&E has got a formal, partial reprieve - but it is not a victory, not yet.

The crowd cheered speeches about continuing the fight, about the need to help workers at the hospital get organised, about opposition to the Private Finance Initiative and about the demand for Labour to rebuild the NHS.

Local Labour Party bigwigs like "Sir" Steve Bullock used the platform to argue for the campaign to rely on a legal challenge by the council. The left needs to, calmly, thoughtfully and not woodenly, make the arguments against this kind of thing, and raise the real political issues.

The next campaign meeting is on the evening of Tuesday 5 February (7pm at the Waldron Centre in New Cross). The next action is a lunchtime rally outside the hospital on Friday 15 February. Workers in the hospital are discussing how to get more organised and active. Workers' Liberty is continuing to advocate a work-in to prevent the running down and cutting of services.

For more information, contact Jill Mountford on 07904 944 771 or jillmountford@rocketmail.com
For the seventh issue of the Lewisham Hospital Worker bulletin we are producing, see here.

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