Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Lewisham Hospital Next Steps
After the determination of the mass demonstrations against the threat to services at Lewisham Hospital, and the bitterness following the Government's decision to proceed with the plans, campaigners face a long fight between now and the planned implementation of closures a couple of years down the line.
But the movement definitely isn't going away. While the Council prepares a legal challenge, meetings and protests continue. On Valentines Day there was a protest outside the Department of Health, with 150 people with heart-shaped balloons (similar balloons were also tied to the railings outside the hospital).
Boris Johnson Question Time in Catford, 7th March
London Mayor Boris Johnson will be in Catford on Thursday 7th March to answer questions at People’s Question Time, a twice yearly event where the Mayor and London Assembly answer questions from local people. There will certainly be some questions about his total failure to stand up for Lewisham Hospital. You can apply for tickets here: http://talklondon.london.gov.uk/forms/thank-you?event=265, and Save Lewisham Hospital will also be organising an event outside the Broadway Theatre from 6 pm. Facebook event
Direct Action Discussions
As discussions continue about the best way forward, South London Solidarity Federation have arranged a screening of "Running Out of Patience" - a documentary on the 1986 Victoria Nurses' Strike in Australia, followed by 'a discussion session aiming to asses how we can put these ideas of direct action into practice to save Lewisham A&E and end this disgraceful attack on the NHS.. As government pushes through the cuts to Lewisham hospital, we need to meet them with a campaign of effective collective resistance. The campaign to save the hospital has done a fantastic job at showing the government how unpopular Kershaw's plans are, but the whole campaign depends upon the government being reasonable and listening to people's concerns. How likely is that? Hunt has proved that he will not listen to reasoned argument, his department have made a mockery of their own 'consultation' process. The only thing left to do is take action - to prove that cuts at the hospital are simply not an option we will accept. How can we make this happen?'.
The meeting will take place on Monday 4th March at UTROPHIA in Deptford High Street (across the road from the train station), 7 to 10 pm. Facebook event details
Also arguing for collective action, particularly by hospital workers, is the socialist group Alliance for Workers Liberty. Their regular Lewisham Hospital Worker bulletins are worth reading because they are not just a collection of the usual predictable leftist slogans. They include some detailed thoughtful pieces written by, among others, a nurse at Lewisham Hospital, which highlight the difficult position facing staff. For instance the latest issue discusses the conflict between implementing cuts and health professionals' duty of care to patients:
'within the next few months frontline staff are likely to receive orders to start implementing the cuts. Those orders will be in conflict with our duty of care to patients. When this happens we will be put in a difficult situation. We can either follow management orders and risk losing our PIN, or make a judgement based on the best interests of our patients, defy management and risk disciplinary action. Each of us will have to make a decision. But saying“my manager told me to do it” is no justification in the eyes of the NMC or GMC.... There is no clinical justification for their closure programme; as trusted health professionals we should take no part in it. When you get home tonight we suggest you brush off your old copy of the NMC Code of Conduct or Good Medical Practice and let’s get a conversation going about how we, the staff at Lewisham Hospital, can collectively commit to the highest possible professional standards - regardless of what plans they are cooking up for us in the corridors of power'.
Lewisham Hospital is Still Open!
In the mean time, everyone needs to spread the word that Lewisham Hospital remains fully open! It seems some people locally might have misunderstood that services were already being closed down. They are not.