Low student turnout at Kingston Hospital protest meeting

Students were few and far between as Kingston NHS activists met at KU to plan protest action later this month.

Ollie Gillman

Student activists were in short supply at a meeting to discuss plans to protest against the possible closure of children’s services at Kingston Hospital.

Only a dozen students showed up to Monday’s meeting in the Clattern Lecture Theatre, where around 40 residents planned future action to protect Kingston’s Sunshine ward and other vital services.

Massive show of anger

Local activists will march on Kingston Hospital, in Norbiton, on Saturday February 16, in the wake of a 15,000-strong protest over the closure of Lewisham Hospital in south London last week.

Protestors will meet at Norbiton Station at midday on Saturday 16, before marching to Kingston Hospital.

A post on the Kingston keep our NHS public campaign’s website reads: “The local hospitals budget is being cut by 24 per cent by 2017. It’s time that we should organise a massive show of anger against the attack on our NHS.”

Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey said in October that the children’s Sunshine Ward would remain open, a pledge that Kingston residents hope he will keep.

Students “not bulletproof”

Organiser of the save Lewisham Hospital campaign, Helmut Heib, called on Kingston activists to remind students they are “not bulletproof”.

“We had 200 students at Lewisham, students are intelligent people,” said Mr Heib. “If you get 200 students down [at the protest], then great.”

The Coalition Government is cutting £370m from the NHS’s budget in south west London, as well as privatising large parts of the health service.

Sicko showing soon

Kingston Hospital has so far remained relatively unscathed compared to other local hospitals, such as Epsom and St. Helier, which are likely to have their A&E departments shut down.

Kingston campaigners will set up a stall and be leafleting around the town centre this weekend to gather support for the upcoming march.

They also intend to host a screening of Michael Moore’s film Sicko in the University, a film highlighting the sorry state of the private healthcare system of the US.

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