To think that Jeremy Hunt is off his rocker to downgrade Lewisham Hospital?(79 Posts)
Lewisham Hospital is NOT a failing hospital and Lewisham is a densely populated part of London.
With the proposed measures, Lewisham Hospital will now be downgraded and will basically lose it's A & E department and the nearest A & E will be miles away in Woolwich.
Also the maternity unit will now solely be midwife led so that if you are unfortunate to need intervention, you will have to be bluelighted to ANOTHER hospital as opposed to now where you are simply taken to the main maternity ward.
Jeremy Hunt had said that there were four criteria that needed to be filled in order for something like this to happen of which Lewisham has not filled at all. Nobody has supported this downgrading at all.
This decision has now set a very dangerous precendence that will be continued up and down the country where it goes to show that in spite of public consultation that said a big fat resounding NO and with no support from doctors, a thriving hospital can be shut just because the Government says so.
I live nearby - isn't this part of the wider review of A&E services all over the country - I know they've been looking in Kent as well. If it's all part of the collapse of the other trust then it's rubbish!
But I do think we're reasonably well served for hospitals locally - Kings, St Thomas' etc are all fairly close. It's not like it's the middle of the country when they close one and it's then 20 or 30 miles to the nearest A&E.
annabeldp, I don't think you quite realise how busy King's and St Thomas' are, especially when it comes to maternity services. I had my DD at Kings and I was given a choice of King's and Lewisham. I chose King's because it was easier to get to on my way to / from work but they were only taking very specific postcodes as otherwise they can't cope.
Lewisham also is going through a birth boom so where are these mothers-to-be going to be absorbed?
If I get pregnant again and King's was ruled out due to oversubscription, I would have to go to Woolwich as due to DD's complicated birth, I would not be allowed to use the Birthing Centre at Lewisham. That's at least an hour away in normal traffic and not counting London traffic problems.
Also, as it stands, if a woman was to be at the Birthing Centre at Lewisham and then ran into complications, she would then be taken by ambulance to Woolwich. Can you imagine how stressful that would be?
Re "rewarding failure", blackeyedsusan, it's interesting that the term "moral hazard" has disappeared from public discourse since bank bailouts and other Quantitative Easing measures...
showtunesgirl, I do realise, though I didn't say I had my daughter at st Thomas' and on ante natal there were some poor people who'd been waiting 3 or 4 days to be induced but there just wasn't space, and I won't even start on the post natal ward...
Don't get me wrong - I really hope it stays open, I'm just saying that if I compare to some other hospitals I know they're looking at I can see more logic in what they're thinking with Lewisham, not that it makes it any less crap if that's your local.
I had dd1 at Lewisham 7 years ago and even back then she was born at 3am, then had to sleep the night with me in the delivery bed because there weren't enough cots in the hospital, let alone beds on the ward. I'm sure that contravened more co-sleeping guidelines than that, but they were so busy it was all they could offer. Can't see how, given the birth boom, things are any better now, eh Jeremy?
I'm angry too, and only glad the core a&e is being saved. But I can't help but point out the real villain is PFI, which the last government used verociously to cook the books. Hunt and his ilk are just trying to clean up the mess at a time when public money is tight.
Chandelina, they are writing off SLHT's debts as far as I can see, which suggests the PFI argument is a red herring. What the BBC news report just failed once again to get across when it referred to 'problems in Lewisham' is that the problems aren't in Lewisham, they are in Woolwich, Sidcup, Bexley and Bromley.
chandelina, the A & E isn't being saved. It's a smoke screen. See upthread for what other people have said about the fact that slowly, the department will go into decline and will shut anyway.
YANBU...but I know a man who is <and a whole lot of other words too>
At the gathering outside the hospital this evening, in amongst the banner waving, rapping, vehicle-horn-tooting and the like were lots of people asking why it was that 4 streets away from the hospital a new 2-form-entry primary school is being opened, and yet another school is being asked to expand - it's not because the population of Lewisham is shrinking.
Perhaps Misters Hunt and Gove are in cahoots? Maybe if Mr Hunt kills off the children and children-to-be of Lewisham by closing the paediatric A&E and the maternity unit, Mr Gove won't have to worry about bulge classes for so long. If the pair are really lucky, they'll kill off a good number of adult locals too which will win them Brownie points with a minister in some other Government department I'm sure .
Which new school is that, SE13Mummy, the one on the site where Trinity used to be, or another one?
Traffic to Woolwich from Lewisham in rush hour is a nightmare, in fact traffic from Lewisham to anywhere is a nightmare.
What does he, with the rhymning slang name want? Deaths?
Cos I'm sure it'll happen.
Will never vote for them (not that I ever have) nor the others in Westminster that didn't stop them.
This country is becoming third world.
Never mind, they could always have on hand taxis, chauffeurs, private health etc if it was them eh? (on expenses no doubt).
Anyway, this is Jeremy Hunt, ex Culture Minister remember? He cut the Arts Funding and said that private investors would take their place and guess what? They didn't.
Yeh and he knows about accounts doesn't he?
We don't want PFI we want our Welfare State back. Free health care for everyone
Aren't they going to start lobbying for a judicial review due to the fact that JH is essentially wasting taxpayers money in closing a department which had SIGNIFICANT funding put into it recently? Or has he swerved that one somehow.
I'm sickened and worried by this. On a purely selfish level, I have a rapidly-approaching-elderly mother (don't tell her I called her that!) living in Sydenham. If she had a heart attack or stroke, 40 minutes to get to the nearest A&E is not good enough.
I just hope the relevant authorities are geared up for a rapid increase in bus, train and car park baby deliveries (I do hope the parking wardens have been informed in appropriate midwifery care!). A decade ago Lewisham hospital's maternity unit was often overwhelmed and had to send patients elsewhere to give birth, especially at weekends. I have several friends that have had to be transferred to Hackney in labour because there has been no room at the inn at the woolwich Hosptital on the day they went into labour - it's a very frightening experience and one poor lady ended up having 40 stitches .
South E London has been going through a baby boom for at least a decade now - each year there are not enough primary places and the LA's have had to struggle to keep pace with it. Lord help anyone who needs help on a day when the Blackwall tunnel tail back, or the South Circular are having one of their all too regular snarl ups. I've seen nothing in the plan about extra helicopters to combat the usual transport issues in that part of the world.
How on Earth does shutting down one of the units/reducing emergency capacity enable a decent service to be delivered. Noone can predict whether a seemingly smooth labour won't suddenly go horribly wrong & delays in prompt treatment during delivery can lead to the death of the mother & child and/or awful handicaps in the baby. Children with birth related disabilities can carry a really expensive lifetime cost in terms of care.
Were I planning another child & a resident of SE London I'd be intending to "turn up" the month before my due date in another part of the country, so that I could be sure that the capacity was available to ensure a safe delivery of my child.
Poor financial management on the part of one trust has resulted in it being rewarded by the hard won efforts of a trust that has kept it's house in order. Greenwich PCT is a poor one in terms of clinical care, meaning that those who can creep over the border into Lewisham do so, otherwise the true picture would look far worse. This short term, knee jerk thinking is in no way, beneficial to the society that finances it through taxation.
The tax payer expects to be able to give birth safely and to have rapid access to emergency services if run over by a bus or suffering a heart attack. This is seen as a fundamental cornerstone of the public's goodwill towards the extortionate UK tax rates. Neither of these services will be available to a huge swathe of SE London's population. The death rate will increase as a result of these changes.
This is all so wrong on so many levels it's truly shocking for even the hardest cynic.
I was wondering about ambulance service investment, too!
By down grading it, will it mean that ambulances will not take to Lewisham anymore? Will it just be a walk in?
Dreams, I'm sure that nobody knows, or if they do, they're not telling... yet.
Yes, pluCaChange, it's the old Ennersdale School that was used for Trinity (which was then Northbrook) when the new building was being built. At the moment it's being used by Drumbeat(?) School.
I walked to the wonderful paediatric A&E at Lewisham with DD2 today as she'd suffered a weird reaction to jabs she had on Friday. It was chockablock with children aged very small up to a couple of quite grown-up looking teenagers. We were there over 2.5 hours but, as has always been my experience, we were seen as soon as possible and the care was first-rate.
I'm not looking forward to the day that there is no paediatric A&E in the borough .
I signed, marched and now am gutted that the hosptial that save both mine and my daughters lives is to be effectively closed.
The distance argument to kings etc is a red herring, other hosptials just don't have capacity. People will die but thats ok because they vote labour round here.
I work in the NHS and if any of you are stupid enough to think that the NHS is safe in Tory hands, wake up and smell the roses. It's being quietly privatised via the back door.
I hope all those Tory voters and politcions sleep well tonight - lets just hope you don't get sick and need an A & E (bearing in mind most private healthcare doesn't cover you for the initial accident or emergency care).
As the founder of the NHS (Bevan) once stated far better than I could... 'no attempt at ethical or social seduction could erricate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory party. So far as I am concerned, they are lower then vermin'.
Please stay angry and don't give up the fight !
There are not actually adequate words for the insanity of this.
* In population terms, it's like leaving Brighton & Hove without an A&E - and the population of Lewisham's expanding at quite a rate, too.
* As the crow flies, no, it's not too far to QEH/KCL. Sadly people don't travel to hospital by crow. As someone else said, LOTS of Lewisham residents do not own cars; public transport to the other hospitals is pants from, er, most of the area served by UHL; traffic conditions in this part of London are frequently dire; if you're amongst the small proportion of residents who could afford a cab to A&E you'd probably struggle to find one who'd take a bleeding/fainting/vomiting (etc) passenger; & the ambulance service has faff-all chance of managing the extra strain that'll be put on it because people will call 999 as they can't see any other way to get to A&E.
* I don't think I've ever been to Lewisham A&E & seen it quiet. I've often been seen quickly, but only because I've been dangerously ill, never because it's not busy. Quite how that volume of patients will be managed by A&E departments that are already overstretched themselves (only the other week KCL had to divert ambulances to UHL!) I don't know. No-one's actually been able to answer this despite it repeatedly being raised by people campaigning to save the hospital.
* They redid & reopened the A&E in September 2011. (Including tarting up recus so it has weirdy plastic doors instead of curtains so people have to wrestle their way in to patients. Really very funny, even when you have appendicitis...) Talk about a ginormous waste of NHS money!
* I have had some dire experiences with UHL, but they are a very well-performing hospital in both clinical & financial terms. QEH is celebratedly/infamously neither. I know which A&E I'd close i.e. the shite one.
* Agree that there's definitely a political aspect to this. Hospital in a Labour stronghold = sitting duck.
* People will die. People will die waiting for treatment. People will die because they put off going because of the impossibility of the journey. People will die because they don't reach the hospital in time. People will die because the ambulance they need is tied up dealing with someone who can't think of any other way to get to the hospital. There is a very real chance I will be one of those people, which would probably delight the Tory bastards because they could finally (ATOS medical last week confirmed my inability to work which will upset the government) stop paying my benefits.
There is a plan afoot to try to challenge the ruling, though:
^Lewisham mayor Steve Bullock said: "The secretary of state is riding roughshod over the people of Lewisham. This is not the end of the matter.
"I do not believe that the trust special administrator had the statutory power to make recommendations about Lewisham Hospital and the secretary of state therefore has no power to implement them.
"I will be talking to our lawyers and we will also of course need to talk to our colleagues at Lewisham Hospital in order to fully understand the implications of Mr Hunt's statement."^
(From this BBC news article.)
Lewisham's population is predicted to reach nearly 300,000 over the next twenty years (it is over 250,000 at the moment) so it's like Iceland not having it's own A&E!
As others have said, this isn't to do with distance in miles between hospitals - this is a densely populated part of London, with a low car owning population very reliant on public transport; but it also has the south circular running through it, so getting from one end to the other can actually take a very long time, even in an ambulance. I have been stuck in traffic jams on the A205 and seen the ambulances trying to get through.
Jeremy Hunt is completely mad, or extremely callous, or both.
How many deaths will it take for the Government to admit this is a completely wrong decision?
Keep checking the savelewishamhospital website for the ongoing campaign everybody.
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