Boris' campaign trail
PUBLISHED: 16:15 09 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 July 2010
MAYORAL candidate Boris Johnson has joined our Times campaign to save Queen Mary Hospital s Accident and Emergency Department. The Conservative candidate for London Mayor was out in the cold last Saturday morning to voice his concern about the proposed
MAYORAL candidate Boris Johnson has joined our Times campaign to save Queen Mary Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.
The Conservative candidate for London Mayor was out in the cold last Saturday morning to voice his concern about the proposed reduction of services at Queen Mary's A&E.
A 100-strong crowd congregated outside the Sidcup hospital waving placards reading 'SOS QMH' and chanted "Save Queen Mary's."
The protest comes in the wake of months of campaigning by your Times after it was revealed that NHS bosses planned to close emergency and maternity units in Bexley and Lewisham.
The changes could see surplus patients being sent to Princess Royal University Hospital, Bromley and Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.
Joining the crowds before doing a walkabout in Bexleyheath, Mr Johnson said: "London's services are being cut from an ill-conceived review (Lord Darzi's) on which the public are not being properly consulted on, without any regard to vital needs of local people.
"If people do not have the sense that there is an A&E it reduces their sense of security. People need to feel local services are going to be there if anything untoward happens to them. There are lots of accidents on the nearby A2. We have got to try to save the service."
Backing the Times' campaign, he added: "Keep up the good work. The fight to save essential services goes on.
"The real problem is that time and time again, facilities that people depend on are being bulldozed.
"We don't want to wait 45 minutes in an ambulance. As mayoral candidate, I have to make sure that people's voices are heard."
He said the public consultation, that opened on Monday must be a 'real' consultation.
He added: "A lot of people are cynical about consultations. They need reassurances."
Protester Linda Evans, 62, from Orpington said: "The A&E department must stay here. If it goes, it will be a very sad for the older generation and for relatives who need to visit people. They will have to take their cars across there. The transport is not sufficient to take people to a different hospital. Darwent Valley and Bromley are too far."
Mr Johnson also claimed Labour London Mayor candidate Ken Livingstone has not spoken out against the plans.
Mr Livingstone said: "As usual Boris Johnson is wrong - I set out my views about hospital closures last year.
"In December I published my response to the government's review of London's health services.
"This made it crystal clear that I opposed closures not just at Queen Mary's but throughout London.
"People should beware of Boris Johnson posing as the champion of the NHS. His record is actually of calling for everyone except the elderly to have to pay for NHS services and hospital treatment.
"As in many other areas he is now trying to pull the wool over people's eyes about his real views."
A spokesperson for A Picture of Health said: "If you are a victim of a road traffic accident, if they were in a bad way the chances would be very high that they would go to a specialist trauma centre.
"If you fall over and hurt yourself then you will continue to be worked on at Queen Mary's but it will be an urgent care centre.