The real Big Society in action

On a cold and bitter night last week in my local area me and my fellow activists from our local support group Worthing Solidarity Network attended a very important public meeting to defend our local fantastic Hospital Southlands from going under the knife and losing its Harness Block. It is strongly rumoured by local sources the block could be sold off to a private housing developer. This is just another ideological cutting excise which will result in local people suffering even more as these vicious Tory policies will once again have the effect of bullying the disabled, elderly, and frail by making them travel up to 20 miles with no help to get basic treatment. Disgusting!

Local people came out in their droves and put democracy in action with about 150-200 people attending, So successful was the attendance that it meant that the meeting had to be delayed while we found new a venue big enough to fit us all in. There was great public anger at the Trust’s proposals. How dare they shut our hospital? The only response was the much patronising smoke-and-mirrors nonsense from the assembled overpaid NHS bigwigs about “community care” while refusing to address the fundamental issues and fears raised by the assembled audience. Local people. Southlands workers and retired clinic staff got up one after another and demolished the arguments of the *public servants* in front of us, demanding that Southlands remains a local community hospital with much-needed in-patient beds. The issue of the stress and terrible low pay for our outstanding hospital staff was also highly raised.

We pointed out using much factual evidence that these cuts were taking place in the context of the well criticised and opposed Health & Social Welfare Bill and that all of these proposals reinforced the Tories ‘ overall plans to cut and privatise the NHS, which got the biggest cheer of the night. local Tory slimeball Tim Loughton MP angrily avoided the questions, his only response being ‘we talk a load of rubbish’and we were ‘politically-motivated’. We had such a great response as the vast majority of people took and read the leaflets that we distributed, and the contact list was fully signed up by people who wanted to take further action in defence of Southlands. We demanded another meeting to whichthey agreed, and they have have promised to get back to us with the full proposals. We will work very hard over the next month to ensure we get a least triple the figure we had that night, and we demanded that a much larger venue be arranged as the people in the area will not allow this hospital to be lost without a fight the likes of which this Council will have not experienced for many years!!

David Chivers, YAC Vice Chair

Southdowns Amal SE No1