Hands Off Our Hospital: March set for Saturday, January 29

HUNDREDS of people are expected to take to the streets in protest at plans to close King George Hospital’s A&E and labour ward.

They will walk a two-mile route from Little Heath Green to Ilford Town Centre, waving banners in the hope of putting pressure on Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, who now has the final decision on whether to press ahead with the proposals.

The march, organised by campaigner Wilson Chowdhry, is the first since Health for North East London’s (HfNEL) plan for the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, was given the seal of approval last month.

Mr Chowdhry said: “This is a pivotal moment. The decision has not yet been ratified so there is a real opportunity to make a difference. It’s important people come out on to the streets to save our A&E.”

He added: “My main concern [with the proposal] is with the travel time to other hospitals. We feel that the extra journey time could cost lives.”

But HfNEL, which is behind the proposals, insists the extra journey times are acceptable and they are working with Transport for London to improve bus routes to Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

The march, on Saturday, January 29, will start at 12.30pm, with 30 minutes of speeches directly beforehand.

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Further speeches will be given in front of the former Harrison Gibson store in Ilford Town Centre at 2pm, when protesters complete their walk.

Speakers will include Ilford North MP Lee Scott, vice-president of Seven Kings Gurdwara, Upkar Rai, and Recorder editor Chris Carter. Members of Seven Kings Gurdwara will be giving out free food and drink from a marquee in Ilford Town Centre from 11am.

A planning meeting for the march is being held today (Thurs) at 7pm at AA Security, Green Lane, Ilford.