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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 February 2017
Thousands march to defend Glenfield heart centre
March to defend Glenfield heart unit 11 February 2017 photo Steve Score (Click to enlarge)
Charles Wheeler, Leicester Socialist Party
"Do not be debilitated by those who tell you protests and marches don't mean anything," Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey told Glenfield Children's Heart Unit campaigners.
Despite snow and freezing temperatures, 2,000 people - including patients and their families, trade unionists and members of the public - took to the streets of Leicester on 11 February in the second march against the proposed closure of the unit in four months.
NHS England has insisted the plans have nothing to do with cuts. But a recent "outstanding" rating by inspectors, adding to years of consistent praise for the centre, shows that their proposal does not make sense. The heart unit is on target to meet 'standards' - the targets set by NHS England.
But the public hasn't been fooled. Support for the campaign has grown.
Jess Whitehouse, holding her baby Elijah as she spoke, explained that her son was the youngest person ever to knock on the door of number 10 Downing Street when the 130,000 strong petition was delivered last week. "Without Glenfield he would not be alive today," she said.
Ashma Fozdar, aunt of Glenfield patient Umayma, reminded the crowd that "it is our NHS. We pay for it. We're the stakeholders, so we have a say." Every speaker showed the public willingness to fight to protect NHS services.
The Socialist Party argues that the closure of Glenfield children's heart unit cannot be disconnected from the attacks on NHS services across the country by this government. Campaigners collected 70 names of people wanting to go to the national demo to save the NHS on 4 March.
Leicester Socialist Party's Steve Score, whose teenage son was treated at Glenfield, closed the rally, saying: "We will not accept this. We will fight to the end, and we will win!"
A public consultation on the closure plans has started, but there will be just one official public meeting in Leicester during the process, at 5pm on 9 March in a room at the Tigers' Welford Road Stadium. We intend to fill it and surround it with more people protesting outside.
- You can watch the speeches from Saturday's rally on Leicester Socialist Party's Twitter, @LeicsSocialists
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In The Socialist 15 February 2017:
What we think
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels
Socialist Party news and analysis
March to save #OurNHS
Resist Trump and his rotten policies: why I'm walking out on 'Day X'
Socialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence
Thousands march to defend Glenfield heart centre
Save child refugees, fight the cuts
Prison deaths scandal
International socialist news and analysis
Spain: clear win for left at Podemos conference!
CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria - towards unification
Izquierda Revolucionaria central committee meeting
French presidential election
France: police attack triggers protests
Workplace news and analysis
United fightback needed as entire grade of rail worker is at stake
"Disgraceful" treatment of sacked EHRC workers
Vibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike
Ultimatum as Deliveroo drivers down tools in Brighton
Solidarity with Tesco Ireland Valentine's Day strike
PCS union pledges to fight Jobcentre job losses
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Anti-trade union laws used against 'Trees Action' protesters
Support floods in for the Cardiff no-cuts three
The Socialist: 20 years old and more important than ever
Toxic fracking could start in England in 2017
May Day greetings in the Socialist
New Socialist Party press
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
No, Trumpism is nothing like Leninism
Foreign aid's not the problem - it's capitalist thieves
Vivid visual account of the Paris Commune
The Socialist inbox
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