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Taking the fight to Save Lewisham Hospital to the High Court

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02 July 2013
Royal Courts of Justice After months of marching, petitioning and lobbying the fight to save services at Lewisham Hospital today reached the High Court.
In two separate three day hearings, Lewisham Council and the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign group are pursuing legal challenges against the Secretary of State for Health's decision to push ahead with the downgrade of maternity and A&E services at Lewisham, following recommendations by the Trust Special Administrator appointed to the neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT).
This morning I joined local healthcare workers, faith leaders and residents to mark the opening of the hearings with a demonstration (you can see a few photos from the morning below). 
The two challenges are on different grounds – Lewisham Council believes the Secretary of State and the TSA had no power to propose major changes at Lewisham Hospital as a result of the process that has taken place, and the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign believe the decision to substantially cut services at Lewisham in three years’ time is unlawful. The campaign’s legal case argues that the public consultation was flawed and that the government’s own four tests for service reconfiguration were not met.

I strongly support both cases. The Unsustainable Provider Regime conferred powers on the TSA and Secretary of State to make recommendations about the SLHT. I believe they were acting above and beyond their remit by including Lewisham – a solvent, successful hospital which is not part of the SLHT – in their consultation and recommendations. I am also seriously concerned about the impact these proposals will have on both the residents of Lewisham and those elsewhere in South London - I fear other hospitals won't be able to cope with patients displaced from Lewisham.
I trust the courts will make the right decision and hope we get a judgement in our favour very soon.

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