The most amazing thing about the ongoing destruction of the Heronwood and Galleon wards at Wanstead Hospital is the blatant denial of the democratic will of the people. If members of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CGC) and Redbridge Council came out of their ivory towers for a moment and actually spoke to real people on the streets of Wanstead and the surrounding area they would find strong support for the retention of the services at Wanstead Hospital. As someone who has stood out on the high street over recent weeks collecting signatures to try to get Redbridge Council to do what they should have done months ago, namely refer the decision to close the wards to the Secretary of State, I have been struck by just how many stories there are from people who have been helped by the hospital. There is a fierce loyalty to the wards, born of the excellent treatment people have received down the generations. There was never a problem getting signatures to oppose the closure, people simply flocked to sign the forms. Not one person to my knowledge actually came up and said I favour shutting these facilities and moving the service miles away. But despite these clear expressions of concern the CCG and Redbridge Council have continued to ignore the popular will. It is not too late ofcourse to bow to public opinion and halt this ill thought out decision. The local people would respect councillors and CCG members if they reconsidered the move and restored services, failure to do so will simply breed further contempt.
* published in the Wanstead Guardian/ Ilford Recorder - 7/10/2015