When you visit somewhere on a regular basis you start to recognise people and places in that area after a while.
So it was with this fabulous lady Gloria Wildman. I have seen Gloria on a number of occasions driving round the Fulham area of London. This week however I managed to catch up with her personally as she was campaigning in North End Road where I was shopping.
Gloria is angry about the privatisation of the NHS and the threatened closure of Charing Cross Hospital nearby. For over 5 years she has been fighting with a dedicated group of campaigners to support the NHS and keep local services open. Her method of choice is to ask drivers to sound their horns in support of the NHS. This simple action of support will she hopes bring the NHS to peoples minds and remind them to keep an eye on what is happening in their local area.
Looking into the proposed closure of Charing Cross Hospital you will find reports that the NHS have said it is not planning to close the hospital and those who suggested such a thing were branded scaremongers by the then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015. Technically the NHS are telling the truth however, the truth is much more involved than the simple question of closing the hospital.
The plans are not to close the hospital, the plans are that in 2021 the hospital will be reduced to 13% of its current size.
The land that the other 87% of the hospital is on will be sold to developers and will most likely end up as luxury flats the same as the majority of land available in Central London nowadays.
For local residents this will mean the loss of 10 major services at Charing Cross – 24/7 A&E, emergency surgery, intensive care and a range of complex emergency and non-emergency medical and surgical treatments. The remaining services would be a series of outpatient and GP clinics, X-ray and CT scans, a pharmacy and an urgent care centre for “minor injuries and illnesses”. Around 300 acute beds will be lost.
Although this story is based on meeting with Gloria and her fight to keep people focused on the decline of the NHS in her area of London. The bigger story is the way in which words were used to disguise the truth.
Technically Charing Cross Hospital is not closing, it is however reducing services to such a level that it will be what most people would consider as a GP Walk In Clinic. For the NHS and Government to use the technicality of language to mislead local residents is something that everyone should be aware of when asking questions regarding services in their own area.
Make sure you ask the right question.