The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital Work-in

a contemporary documentary for the work-in campaign 1976-9

In 1976, after a long period of neglect by the health authorities, the Department of Health in the UK announced that the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (EGA) Hospital - a hospital for women in central London, where women were treated by women staff - would be closed.

An alliance of staff, patients, the labour and womens movement, and the local community launched a campaign to save the hospital.  Forcing a number of extensions, when the final closure was to occur the campaign moved to an occupation of the hospital where patients continued to be treated while supporters picketed the hospital to stop patients and equipment being removed.  

With a number of potential closure announcements the work-in continued for about 18-months. The documentary film attached EGA Stays OK! - produced through the Open Door series - is an invaluable account produced for the work-in and gives an interesting view of the staff and supporters, as well as patients, during the occupation.  Following the action at EGA further hospital occupations were staged in Britain to attempt to halt closures and declining local health services.  They have more recently occured in Greece and elsewhere in as budget cuts impact on peoples health facilities.

Ironically the EGA work-in was finally ended by the incoming Thatcher Government in 1979 who hatched a plan to keep the hospital open by the introduction of voluntary finance alongside state health funding.  Splitting support for the EGA campaign it proved the first hints of the encroachment of private sector into health care in the name of 'choice'.

Now watch the short film: