Good News for North London

According to a report in the Socialist Worker this afternoon and later confirmed by The Guardian, Health Secretary Andy Burnham has reversed the planned closure of accident and emergency and maternity services at the Whittington Hospital and stopped the “consultation” over this and other hospital closures in North London. It was the Camden New Journal who first broke the story both of the cuts and of this change of mind, and it also has the most detailed story. It’s good to see a local paper that is doing its job, at a time when so many have really stopped being local papers and are simply some kind of franchise with a few more or less local gobbets.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

Its good news for all who live in or visit the area, who would otherwise have faced lengthy journeys trough often traffic blocked streets should they have an accident – or be expecting a baby –  and shows that a well-organised and well-supported campaign can result in a change of policy.

In the Camden New Journal, the minister is reported as going rather further in his statement, saying “as far as I’ve seen there is no clinical evidence or clinical support for any kind of downgrading or closure. On that basis, it’s simply inconceivable that Labour would support the closing or downgrading of the Whittington A&E or its maternity service.” So the Labour party has now joined the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in a pledge to keep the hospital open.

© 2010, Peter Marshall
The youngest demonstrator should get his or her wish

You can read more about the march at the end of February by several thousand people to the hospital on My London Diary, where of course there are many more pictures. It’s perhaps a pity that the CNJ didn’t have some better photographs to go with its story.

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