Protesters in cat masks gathering to save the Whittington Hospital today
PUBLISHED: 11:34 24 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:44 24 April 2013
Camden NHS campaigners are due to lobby the House of Lords today as others are planning to picket outside the Whittington Hospital in cat masks to protest plans to sell-off part of the hospital.
Today (April 24) the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition will be holding a ‘Day of Action’ with campaigners rallying against the board’s decision to sell-off one third of the hospital site in Magdala Avenue, Highgate.
Protestors wearing black cat masks will be standing outside GP surgeries in Camden and Islington, whilst others planning to rally outside the Whittington Hospital’s monthly board meeting.
Campaign group Camden Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) has also been involved with a wider campaign to send letters to peers in the House of Lords in time for today’s debate on privatisation of the NHS.
Maeve O’Connor, secretary of Camden KONP, said: “The Lords are debating the clause in the Health and Social Care Bill about allowing more privatisation of services.
“We want to take part because anything to do with that is of vital importance for us, because we fear that far too many branches of the NHS will be taken over by private companies who will put in a low bid at first, and then will leave just at a time when everyone needs them.”
Members of Camden KONP have been sending letters to Lords asking that they vote against regulations that would make it easier for GP commissioning groups to take on private bidders.
Shirley Franklin, of Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition, who organised the Day of Action, explained that the goal was to get more people on board with the campaign to save the hospital in time for a London-wide health demonstration on May 18.
The march, which will begin in Jubilee Gardens in Waterloo, has been called for by hundreds of doctors, nurses, patients and campaigners, who want to protest hospital closures and protect the NHS from privatisation.
In March, thousands of people who use the Whittington Hospital marched through Islington and Highgate to stop the sell-off.
Ms Franklin said: “We organised the Day of Action because we want to stop the sell-off and raise awareness of what’s happening.”
She added: “I don’t see any evidence that the board is listening to us because local people have said they don’t want the sell-off to happen and nothing has changed.
“We don’t think we can get anywhere on our own, which is why we want people to know about the London-wide demo next month.”
Demonstrators will be gathering outside the Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue today at 1pm, wearing cat masks. Residents are also asked to rally outside their local GP surgergies, wearing the masks.
To get involved head to the hospital or your local GP surgeries at 1pm.
Cat masks are available from the Whittington Community Centre in Yerbury Road.
For more information visit the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition’s website at www.dwhc.org.uk.