10,000 march to save Lewisham A&E

November 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm (Cuts, health service, London, protest)

Cathy and Jill report :

At least 10,000 people marched on Saturday (24 November) through central Lewisham, in terrible weather, to stop the closure of the A&E, maternity and other departments at the local hospital.

Local, mostly working class people appear to have reached a  tipping point on what services they are prepared to see go in the so called ‘austerity cuts’. We don’t recall being on a similar demonstration since the miners strike – ie. a local demo where local working class people were by far the dominant force (there were many differences too, like the lack of trade union banners and consciousness).
We gave out thousands of leaflets about the campaign  with people pushing and queuing to get one – fleeting chats imply that many, many people want to be involved and some longer chats clearly indicated that the A&E closure was forcing them to voice their anger and frustration about what the Tories are doing to them/us more generally.
It was easily the biggest demonstration Lewisham has seen since the “Battle for New Cross” in 1977 and one of the biggest in the UK against local NHS cuts for many years.

This was very much a demonstration of the local community but will have drawn in people from around south London who also face cuts in their NHS services proposed by government-appointed Special Administrator after South London Heath Care Trust went bust.

The root of the problem is the massive, long-term payments a neighbouring Trust has had to fork out to PFI contrators. Everyone in south London and not just Lewisham are set to pay the price. Unless we stop the NHS bosses and the government who have devised cuts so that they can continue to pay out to the PFI profiteers.

This demonstration was fantastic start, but there is not much time. Anyone wishing to get involved in the campaign to discuss and work out how to take further effective action and link up around London should come to the next public meeting.

7pm, Wednesday 28 November, Broadway Theatre, Catford

And the next action:

6pm, Tuesday 4 December Converge on Kershaw (the special adminstator) Calabash Centre, George Lane, SE6

1 Comment

  1. Nick Long said,

    The biggest demo seen in Lewisham in recent times was 20,000 who marchhed from Fordham Park on Monday March 2nd organised by the New Cross Action Committee in response to the fire at 439 New Cross Rd where 13 young people died.

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