Stepping up the pressure to Save Lewisham Hospital

Earlier this week the final report of the Special Administrator appointed by Government to sort out the financial problems of the South London Healthcare Trust was published. This report, which is now with the Secretary of State for Health for a final decision at the beginning of February, proposes that Lewisham Hospital’s A&E department close and be replaced with an Urgent Care Unit. It also recommends that Lewisham’s maternity department be replaced with a “midwifery-led unit”, and for Lewisham to merge with the QEII in Woolwich to form a new healthcare trust.

I believe the TSA’s plans are based on flawed data and spurious assumptions. They will result in poorer healthcare for Lewisham residents and run the risk of overloading neighbouring hospitals. To shut down services at a solvent, successful hospital in order to deal with financial problems in another hospital trust is sheer madness.

Like many, I feel badly let down by the public consultation, and the apparent disregard for the views expressed by local residents and health professionals. I am proud to be part of the 96% of Lewisham residents who responded to the consultation to oppose the plans, and will continue the fight to challenge these ill-conceived and dangerous proposals.

On Tuesday I worked with Dame Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham Deptford, to secure an urgent question to the Secretary of State for Health on the issue. I asked Mr Hunt whether he would meet with a small number of Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners to discuss this important issue. Sadly, his response was less than helpful and basically a polite way of saying “no” – which incensed me!

The final decision on the future of services at Lewisham will be made by the Secretary of State in early February. We must step up the pressure to save our local A&E and maternity. For those who are able, please join me at the Save Lewisham Hospital demonstration on 26th January:

What? Save Lewisham Hospital peaceful demonstration

When? Saturday 26th January, 12 noon

Where? Assemble at Lewisham Roundabout (by the station) at 12. We will be marching past the hospital to Mountsfield Park for a rally, music and giant petition

I am also encouraging people to send their views directly to the Secretary of State by writing to him at:

Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Department for Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS

The campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital is far from over. Lewisham is prepared to step up and make our voices heard. I just hope the Government will listen.


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