Whittington Hospital, Archway, Defend Whittington Hospital Coaliiton,February 27th 2010.
Five thousand angry North Londoners marched up the Holloway Road this afternoon. Their demand to save the threatened Accident & Emergency department and Maternity department of the Whittington Hospital in Archway, has split the Labour Party. The local Islington Labour Party including the leader of council, are now apparently at odds with the Labour Government in Westminster, who have been cutting and privatising the National Health Service by stealth, for over a decade.
Local Labour MP’s on the demonstration included David Lammy, the MP for nearby Tottenham, whose residents use the Whittington Hospital. While Mr. Lammy wielded s placard saying “Save our local hospital”, as a Minster for Higher Education he has been responsible for cuts himself. This anomaly was highlighted by Sean Vernell, a leader of the local branch of the University and College Union, whose members have suffered swinging cuts in jobs and resources, administered by Mr. Lammy’s department.
Strong and determined grassroots campaigns like the “Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition” have reminded the New Labour government that their core supporters expect them to keep the National Health Service public and free at the point of delivery. With an General Election only 2 months away “New Labour” need to look at little more like old Labour who created the NHS in the first place.