Wallsend closure protested
NEWCASTLE — For the second time, thousands turned out to protest against the proposed closure of Wallsend Hospital, near here. Union banners, hospital flags and solidarity signs were carried by the 10,000 protesters on August 13. Many wore the light blue of nurses, the green of hospital ancillary staff and the blue overalls of industrial workers. Young parents pushed prams alongside elderly pensioners. The hospital provides an efficient health service and 400 jobs. It has become a sacrificial lamb after public disclosure that the under-funded Hunter Area Health Board has a $60 million deficit following the opening of the nearby high-tech John Hunter Hospital. Reverend Dean Lawrence addressed the rally. Community activist and Green local council candidate Margaret Henry told Green Left Weekly that the proposed closure represents a move towards high-tech medicine and away from prioritising the needs of elderly people, community health and women and children. Photograph, by the Newcastle Herald, shows the July 30 protest march of 4000.