A tale of two Lynne Featherstone Whittington Hospital campaigns
PUBLISHED: 14:00 11 March 2013
What a difference three years makes in politics.
In March 2010, both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were kicking their heels in the corridors of power, The Whittington Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department was facing closure and Hornsey and Wood Green’s MP Lynne Featherstone was in fighting spirits.
Speaking at the Ham&High’s Save Our A&E event in 2010, alongside doctors, campaigners and other politicians, the MP said: “We have to fight to stop this – this is our life, our health, our NHS.”
After claiming victory, first for the Highgate hospital, and then for the party in the 2010 general election, the triumphant Lib Dem vowed: “It is quite clear local people want the A&E and maternity to stay, and my job is to ensure that it does – regardless of the government in power.”
Fast forward three years and it’s Groundhog Day – albeit with a twist. This time round hospital chiefs are proposing to sella chunk of the hospital site, close three wards and cut up to 550 jobs.
While MPs Frank Dobson, David Lammy, Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn are all set to speak out against the closures at a community march on March 16, Ms Featherstone has not been invited to speak.
Rather than calling for a definitive halt to the planned closures, she has said: “I actively oppose any land sell-off or loss of hospital service without an equal or better replacement being provided to local residents.”
Her office has refused to confirm or deny if the MP is backing the Ham&High’s Hands Off Our Whittington campaign, but she has gathered more than 2,500 signatures to support her challenge to the hospital.
Ms Featherstone has said she plans on joining the march next Saturday (March 16) at the Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition rally. We wait and hope.
If doubt surrounds her attendance, it is almost certain the Conservatives will not be touting one of their election slogans, NH Yes (pictured), which was emblazoned on campaign vans which circled the Whittington Hospital during an action day in 2010.