Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Protesters fight for NHS future after administration of SLHT
PROTESTERS concerned about the future of the NHS gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at the weekend to supportive hoots from passing traffic.
Around 30 people assembled on Saturday to show their support for staff and patients following last month's announcement that the financially-crippled South London Healthcare Trust had gone into administration.
The trust - which runs the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup and the Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough - has racked up debts of more than £150m over the past three years.
An umbrella group - Save our Local NHS hospitals - of local campaigning groups such as NHS Public Greenwich organised the demonstration.
They also added more names to a petition of several thousand signatures which was drafted by hospital staff and states it cannot be right to bail out banks and not the NHS.
Chairwoman of NHS Public, Frances Hook, said: "It was quite good. We got the petition signed and hoots from cars.
"Our intention is not to disrupt patient care but to bring to the attention of the public and impress our elected representatives and government that we want to retain all our local NHS hospitals and services.
"We also want the PFI to be removed so that all the NHS money allocated to the trusts is used for front-line patient care, services and the staff that is needed to provide that care."
Matthew Kershaw stepped into the role of administrator on July 16 and since the move there have been several meetings of local people who fear for the NHS' future and want the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debt to be paid off.
Chair of We Love the NHS Greenwich John Galloway said: "I think it is impressive how local people are becoming interested and active in trying to ensure the NHS that is developing is one that meets their needs.
"It would be useful for the administrator to begin to engage with local people and make sure the NHS we are left with once this process is over is one that local people want.
"The NHS is a quintessentially British institution and properly demonstrates British values and I hope it continues to do so."