Aug 30 2012 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
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CAMPAIGNERS and councillors are working together to fight against the closure of their local A&E department.
Brent Fightback held talks with Labour councillors who have pledged to fully support the campaign to save the accident and emergency department at Central Middlesex Hospital after protestors accused the local authority of not backing them.
Martin Francis, a spokesperson for Brent Fightback which is spearheading the campaign, met council leader Muhammed Butt and Councillor Krupesh Hirani, lead member for adults and health, on Thursday last week, but said he hoped the council as a whole would back the campaign.
“I hope to see that support strengthening as it becomes clear how angry people in Stonebridge and Harlesden are at the closure and how determined they are to do all in their power to stop it,” he said. “The council must back their residents.”
Mr Francis pointed out that Ealing Council had given its full support to the campaign.
Councillor Hirani said: “Other councils have cross party support for the campaign, which we don’t have, so we can’t do a council-funded campaign.
“We are backing the campaign. We oppose the plans because the proposals affect the poorest part of the borough and talk about how they want to divert resources into the community, but there is no detail whatsoever on how this will happen.”
The changes, which will affect some two million patients in north-west London, could be made under the Shaping a Healthier Future proposals, which people can comment on until October 8.
Plans include closing the A&E at Central Middlesex, so patients would have to use Northwick Park Hospital, in Watford Road, and merging other NHS hospital services.
Brent campaigners have collected 400 signatures against the closure and there is an e-petition on Brent Council’s website calling on the council to do everything it can to stop the changes.
Councillor Hirani has also started a petition against the closure.
A spokesperson for the NHS said: “A huge amount of work has been done to look at the proposals and the impact on different hospitals. No changes will be made until we make improvements to community care.”
A march is being held on Saturday, September 15, at noon, from the Jubilee clock, Wendover Road, to the hospital in Acton Lane, Park Royal.