Friday, October 26, 2012

Save Lewisham Hospital - it's on!

The day after Lewisham NHS Choir were seen by millions on BBC, the BBC has reported tonight that Lewisham's Accident and Emergency department will next week be recommended for closure:

'A London hospital trust which ran up debts of £150m should be divided up, a report will say next week. Spiralling debts led to South London Healthcare Trust becoming the first NHS trust to be put into administration. A government-appointed administrator will say on Monday its three hospitals should be hived off to nearby trusts...Lewisham Hospital's A&E unit has been earmarked for closure in the report, six months after it reopened as part of a £12m refit...

The Princess Royal is likely to be taken over by King's Health Partners in south London, Queen Mary's would be taken over by a mix of Dartford and Gravesham and Oxleas NHS trusts and the Queen Elizabeth is expected to join up with Lewisham Hospital'.

The rationale, such as it is, seems to be that Lewisham will merge with Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, and as the latter has an A & E they won't need two! The whole point of casualty departments though is that they are close to the communities they serve so that people can get quick access to healthcare in an emergency (clue's in the name). For most people in Lewisham the far side of Woolwich Common might as well be the moon, especially if they are in distress, don't have a car, or can't drive it (yes sometimes people who need emergency care have been drinking). Increasing the journey time to hospital will put lives at risk.
It will also lead to a downgrading of Lewisham Hospital, paving the way for further closures in the future.

The Save Lewisham A&E Campaign is now officially underway. There's a Public Meeting on Thursday, 8th November, 6-8pm in Lessoff Auditorium at the Hosptial (Speakers: Jim Dowd MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Mayor Steve Bullock, Dr Louise Irvine, local GP and BMA council member and others).

A demonstration 'Hands Around Our Hospital' is planned for Saturday 24th November: 2pm, march from Loampit Vale roundabout to Lewisham Hospital, 3pm, link hands around Lewisham Hospital. Be there.


Alan Burkitt-Gray said...

Appalling. All my three children were born in Lewisham hospital. We live on the Greenwich side of the boundary through Blackheath but we're not care users and Lewisham hospital is far easier to get to than that isolated building above Woolwich.

Anonymous said...

Lets be clear Lewisham is being picked on not only because of failed PFI but because a working class area.

The Tories want to save cuts at Bromley

Just like Fire Station closures in London

all but few in Labour areas

Epsom hospital and St Helier possible merger/closures.cuts put on hold today !!!!!

why because impact on Tory voter

This is Class War and we need to fight back

Simon Hughes is local MP and whats he saying

Join the Resistance !!!!

Anonymous said...

Will be there. If you can please keep posting updates. The campaign website has updates on twitter only.

Its such a busy A&E department, its insanity to close it.

Transpontine said...

The closure wouldn't just affect people in Lewisham, there would of course be a knock on effect at other South London A&E departments (Kings, QE Woolwich etc.) which would be bound to get busier leading to longer waiting times.

@anon 19.46 - you are right that this plan is intensely political. It is being reported of course as a technocratic exercise in service rationalisation to prompt consultation, but there's no way controversial proposals like this would get into the public domain without a nod from the Minister (in this case Jeremy Hunt). And yes they would much rather have an outcry in Lewisham where the Tories don't really have any votes to lose, than in Bexley where the Council is Tory-controlled.