Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

Protesters march 'to save Whittington Hospital's A&E'

Protesters gather to march 'to save Whittington Hospital's A&E'

Hundreds of protesters have marched against proposals to close the accident and emergency (A&E) department at north London's Whittington Hospital.

The protest, held on Saturday, which culminated in a rally at the hospital in Highgate, was organised by the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition.

The hospital may have to merge its A&E with London's Royal Free Hospital under NHS plans going out for consultation.

The departments could be reorganised by the NHS as part of a city-wide review.

The Metropolitan Police said between 200 and 300 people gathered at the start of the march but they did not have a figure for the number who gathered for the rally.

Organisers said that more than 1,000 people gathered for the rally.

'Our hospital'

Shirley Frankin, from the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition, said: "We need our local A&E. People who have never been on a demonstration are here."

"It's our hospital. We need those services here," she added.

NHS London has revealed plans for more than 100 polyclinics across the capital over the next five years, which will offer a wider range of services in one place.

But an NHS London spokesman has insisted: "Polyclinics will not replace A&Es.

"They are being introduced to make it quicker and easier for Londoners to access to the care they need."

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