Over 20,000 on the march!
Lewisham saw it's largest demonstration in memory yesterday as thousands marched past Lewisham Hospital calling for Jeremy Hunt to reject plans to close its A&E and maternity departments.
The demonstration was decided upon shortly before Christmas and the last three weeks have seen hundreds of people involved in getting the political message out to the residents of Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich.
Lewisham People Before Profit played a major role in the organisation, working together with other campaigners to ensure the smooth running of the campaign. National radio and television have given prominent coverage to the protest action and we are now awaiting Jeremy Hunt's announcement, which will be followed at 6pm by a rally outside Lewisham Hospital.
Whether Hunt decides to close the A&E and Maternity or to spare them, we will still need to counter the underlying cause of the bankruptcy of the NHS trust in Greenwich and Bromley - PFI payments to Barclays, Innisfree and Taylor-Woodrow (United Health Consortium).
We have been paralysed within the campaign meetings by the reluctance of the Labour Party to allow discussion of this aspect - Joan Ruddock MP didn't mention it on Radio 4, Heidi Alexander didn't mention it in her speech in Mountsfield Park. None of the Lewisham MPs has signed the early day motion on PFI and Lewisham (www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/306//) presumably because they don't want to put the blame for the mess fairly and squarely where it belongs - on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Fortunately Lewisham People Before Profit has no such inhibitions and we will be discussing how to campaign on this at our regular monthly meeting next Monday, 4th February at 7.15 at The Broca Cafe. All welcome.
We have already performed a short sketch about the PFI scam inside Barclays Bank branches in Deptford and Lewisham and set up a petition on the Downing Street website at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/42460
There is lots of interesting information about PFI at www.SaveLondonNHS.org.uk