Chairs were in short supply as over 200 Redbridge residents crammed into the Town Hall for the first public meeting of the ‘Save King George A&E’ campaign.
Opening the event Wes said that they had a ‘window of opportunity’ to save the accident and emergency at King George Hospital, but the campaign was ‘urgent’; if they did not rally together now, they would lose the A&E forever.
Wes was joined on the panel by Dr Tony O’ Sullivan of the ‘Keep Our NHS Public’ campaign, Vicky Penner, who was part of the successful campaign to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and Lloyd Duddridge, who is overseeing the King George campaign.
Dr Sullivan connected the campaign to the wider problem nationally with the NHS, stating that the government “are deliberately undermining the NHS in a way that is very, very scary… the NHS is affordable, it is the best in the world, but it is hanging by the fingertips.”
He also said that “campaigners have got to unite around a simple message if you want to keep your A&E open.”
Vicky Penner used her experience of the Lewisham hospital campaign to provide some tips for the campaign, and helped energize the room by showing this was not a futile exercise.
“The situation you’re facing is disgraceful and is happening across the country and across London. If they [the government] had their way our hospital would be rubble and luxury flats by now.”
She added that “if you’ve got a diverse group of people, with a diverse set of skills, and you all get together and put aside your differences, you can make a real change.”
Concluding the event, Wes told the packed room that he was “inspired” by the turnout and the energy, and said that “if we mobilise, organise, and fight together, this is a fight we can win.”
Get involved with the King George Hospital A&E campaign by liking the Facebook page, or contact Lloyd Duddridge with offers to help by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 02034757901.