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The fight goes on

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12 December 2012
The fight goes on The campaign to save services at Lewisham Hospital is gaining momentum, with hundreds of people signing my petition every day. I believe this illustrates the anger that local people feel about the proposals to take their A&E and maternity services away and I hope the Trust Special Administrator and Secretary of State take this opposition on board when reaching their final decision.

Last week I spoke at an event organised by the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign. Hundreds of local residents attended – so many that the organisers had to split the crowds into two separate venues! In my speech, I made clear that I believe Lewisham and its growing population needs a full admitting Accident and Emergency department and a full maternity service.

Lewisham is a busy hospital. Each year, its A&E is visited by 115,000 people and 4000 babies are born there – with numbers rising annually. Its maternity services are proving ever more popular and the reputation of its specialist Children’s A&E department is excellent. If Lewisham A&E is replaced by an urgent care centre, as its proposed, it will mean 1 in 4 people who are currently treated there will have to go elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the A&E departments at Kings and Woolwich are already operating at capacity and getting to these hospitals is not easy. I believe people have a right to know that they can get high quality care quickly and close to home, and that mums-to-be should be able to have their baby at their local hospital.

At the meeting I urged everyone to respond to the consultation that is currently being carried out by the Trust Administrator. A series of consultation meetings have been set up, and we must use these to convince Mr Kershaw to change his proposals in relation to Lewisham. The Government must also realise that Lewisham’s services must stay, so if we can’t persuade the Administrator we must convince the Government Ministers who will take the final decision.

Five years ago David Cameron was one of Lewisham’s biggest fans, identifying it as one of 29 hospitals he was prepared to “enter into a bare-knuckle fight over”. If the Prime Minister wants a fight, I think Lewisham is ready to give him one. For six ways you can get involved in the fight to save our services click here.

The next Save Lewisham Hospital public meeting will be on Wednesday 28th November, at 7pm at the Catford Broadway Theatre. All are welcome.

You can read more about the background to the proposals for Lewisham Hospital here

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