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West London Islamic Centre & Jamia Masjid

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Thousands join march to save Ealing Hospital

Thousands joined marches in Acton and Southall on Saturday 15th September 2012 in protest at proposals to close the accident and emergency department and downgrade it to local hospital status.

The Southall March passed Ealing Hospital with around 2,000 people taking part, at least several hundred in Acton. Buses, vans and cars sounded their horns in support.

Brandishing placards, banners and flags, protesters spent the morning marching through the borough's streets with several hundred people making their way from Acton Park and travelling from Southall Park past Ealing Hospital.

Along the way both marches received support from buses, taxis, cars and ambulances as drivers sounded their horns.

The march was organised to oppose NHS proposals to axe Ealing's accident and emergency unit and downgrade it to a 'local hospital'.

As well as Ealing, Central Middlesex Hospital in Park Royal and Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals in Hammersmith and Fulham would lose their A&Es meaning patients would have to travel to Northwick Park in Harrow, Hillingdon Hospital or West Middlesex Hospital - which would gain an A&E unit in the shake up. On a day which hosted one of the biggest demonstration in Ealing's history, normally fiery political foes stood shoulder to shoulder in their abhorrence of the plans.

Speakers, including Steve Pound the Labour MP for Ealing North, Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton Angie Bray, leader of the council Julian Bell and opposition councillors Conservative David Millican and Liberal Democrat Gary Malcolm, all spoke of their outrage and their determination to fight the proposals.

There was a strong sense among opponents that the closure of all the A&E units would only be detrimental to the health of patients as they would have to travel much further.

Acton resident Martin Roiser helped to organise the march from Acton Park.

He said: 'Closing A&Es will have an effect on the service of health provision. There's been a 10 per cent increase in the population of the area over the last 10 years, we need more units, not less.

'People are worried and scared about having to travel that extra distance in what is very likely to be a life and death situation. It seems that everyone in the community is getting behind the campaign.'

March attendees came from all over West London to show their support for the save our hospitals campaign.

Many people from out of the area showed up because they believed that none of the hospitals should be pitted against each other and there should be a sense of unity in their opposition.

Hammersmith resident, Desiree Cranenburgh, said: 'We feel that if one of these hospitals closes then it will be a poor service for everyone. If you shut one, then all will suffer. The average waiting time in one of these A&Es is currently somewhere between two and four hours, that's only going to rise.

'There are also a lot of issues surrounding transport, how are people going to easily get to these units when they are so far away. It'll be harder for elderly people and mums with buggies and what about people coming to visit, if you can drive it's fine, but a lot of people don't.'

The Messenger of Allah kissed al-Hasan ibn Ali (his grandson) and al-Aqra ibn Haabis al-Tamimi was sitting with him. Al-Aqra said: 'I have 10 children and I have never kissed any one of them.' The Messenger of Allah looked at him and said: 'The one who does not show mercy will not be shown mercy on the Day of Recompense.' [Al Bukhari]