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The future of Lewisham Hospital

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23 October 2012
University Hospital Lewisham In the last few weeks, I have been receiving a steady stream of emails from local people concerned about the future of the A&E at Lewisham Hospital. I thought it might be helpful to set out what has generated these rumours, when we might know more and what we can do about it.

In July, the South London Healthcare Trust (made up of 3 hospitals in Woolwich, Sidcup and Farnborough) was put into “special measures”. As a result, an independent Administrator was appointed to the Trust in order to find a solution to its financial problems. This work includes a review into the provision of health services in the wider area of South East London.

Many people, me included, are worried that this work may impact on services at Lewisham Hospital. I must stress that there are no firm proposals on the table at the moment, but given previous threats to the A&E’s future, we are concerned that such a proposal may rear its head again.

The Special Administrator is currently producing a draft report which is to be published next Monday (29 October 2012). Following this, there will be a month long period of consultation with patients, staff, the public and health service commissioners. The final report will be submitted to the Health Secretary by January 2013, with the final decision made by February (exact dates on the DoH website).

Considering the scale of the financial challenge it seems certain that significant changes will be made to the way NHS services are provided in our area. However, until the report is published later this month, it is not clear what shape this change will take. I will be keeping a very close eye on any developments and have already had meetings with the Trust Administrator and the previous Secretary of State for Health. Andrew Lansley.

I am adamant that our Accident and Emergency Department in Lewisham must remain. I am also concerned that there may be a threat to our maternity services, and believe that this care must remain local. It must not become the case that mums-to-be will have to travel half way across the city to make their antenatal appointments.

I will also be fighting the corner of Lewisham’s Paediatrics Department, which contains one of London’s very few dedicated Children’s A&E Department and is ‘excellent’ rated by the Care Quality Commission.

We will know more about what is being proposed when the report is published on Monday 29 October. If you are a constituent of mine and want to be kept up to date about this issue, please email me at info@heidialexander.org.uk 

Update 30/10/12: As many will have seen on the news, proposals were announced yesterday to significantly cut services at Lewisham Hospital. The proposals include closing the A&E and replacing it with an urgent care centre. Options are being consulted upon about the future of maternity services.

Please see my latest blog post for further details. I have also set up a petition to retain A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital which you can sign here


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