To think that Jeremy Hunt is off his rocker to downgrade Lewisham Hospital?

(79 Posts)
showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 12:51:18

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.

pippibluestocking Thu 31-Jan-13 12:57:52

Yes, completely agree, but fear it is a done deal. There were muttering about closing the A&e at UHL several years ago when the A&e and maternity units were downgraded at Queen Marys Sidcup. My suspicion is that the financial problems at SLHT have just given the government the ideal opportunity to do what they have been planning for several years. Decision tomorrow - not hopeful Im afraid

Goodwordguide Thu 31-Jan-13 13:00:54

Totally agree, it's disgusting and I hope there's a legal challenge should the decision go against Lewisham.

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 13:03:28

I don't know if you're aware of it but the decision was made TODAY and the only "concession" that has been made is that there will still be an A & E at Lewisham but smaller. So it will still mean that Lewisham will be over-capacity for A & E patients and many will have to be sent elsewhere. Why do this when it's already performing well?

SaladIsMyFriend Thu 31-Jan-13 13:06:50

YANBU it's disgusting but I also fear it is a done deal.

Kings will not be able to cope with all the extra maternity patients in particular, it is often full to bursting on the maternity wards there as it is.

pippibluestocking Thu 31-Jan-13 13:11:17

Ah I didn't know, thought it was tomorrow. That is a way of closing the a&e without saying you're closing it. Staff will start looking for jobs elsewhere and no-one will apply for vacant position because of the insecurity over it's future; waits will grow due to staff shortages and downsizing of capacity; this will lead to less people using it and then hey presto, in several years time, someone will say " it's not well utilised so well downsize it again to a UCC. Disingenuous.

Its discrageful, our nearest A&E will either be Woolwich or Kings, both quite a way, and how are they meant to cope with the thousands of extra people. But I agree it was a done deal, all of our protests and marches were for nothing.

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 13:18:31

The A & E and Maternity Department are the highest performing parts of the hospital. Once these are downgraded, in effect the whole hospital is downgraded.

Apparently the ultimate aim is to close the hospital to sell off to property developers. What's the betting that the land has already been sold...

I'm utterly disgusted. I've moved now but QEH was our local for many years and ridiculously overcrowded as it was - I'm quite sure some of the many mistakes they made with my care with long term implications were due to this.

How closing Lewisham A&E and maternity is going to "help" the situation beggars belief.

I couldn't go to the demo but I answered the research questionnaire things and filled in petitions.. but what was the point sad

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 13:28:11

The consultation questionnaire was overlong and utterly impenetrable and though the overwhelming response was NO, they have now turned round and said: you were consulted and you didn't tell us what else we should no. Nowhere in the questionnaire did it ask us to do their job in thinking of alternatives.

Though apparently, one suggestion has been that Lewisham's management should take over QEH to improve it. This makes actual sense. Instead, what has happened is that the badly performing hospital has been "rewarded" for mismanagement and the good performing hospital is being downgraded!

Where is the logic in this? confused

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 13:29:11

Sorry, we should DO not no.

SaladIsMyFriend Thu 31-Jan-13 13:36:38

Aaaargh just seen the decision has been made today, I thought it was tomorrow.

sad and angry angry angry

drjohnsonscat Thu 31-Jan-13 13:36:45

I don't understand it. It could take ages to get to Woolwich from some parts of SE London that are served by Lewisham hosp. I wouldn't feel secure with that arrangement.

But agree that they were going to do this come hell or high water. How does Jeremy Hunt get away with it? His career should have been over after his management of the culture remit. Now his ludicrous comments about abortion, completely out of place for someone in his position, and then this. He is coming across as one of those politicians who has absolutely no interest in anything other than the Westminster village.

Inertia Thu 31-Jan-13 13:38:19

I'm appalled, and I don't live there. A well-performing hospital faces service cuts to bail out a mismanaged one, BUT - and this is the thing that gets me most of all - three-quarters of the money saved is going to be spent on administration for the changeover!

This government are canny- instead of coming in all blustery like Thatcher to privatise the NHS and schools, they are doing it by stealth. It's like death by a thousand paper cuts (is that the right phrase?). We get angry at all of these individual cuts and forced privatisation (aka sponsored academy status) of individual schools- one day we'll wake up and our NHS and state education system will be gone. I just hope the electorate throw the Tories out on their arses probably to take up directorships with the the companies running the privatised schools and hospitals come the next election.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 31-Jan-13 13:40:15

YANBU. People will die due to this closure. It's as simple as that.

I signed the petitions too, they are well aware of the local, and national outrage, but this government don't give a shit. They are hell bent on dismantling our NHS by any means necessary.

valiumredhead Thu 31-Jan-13 13:41:15

I had ds at Lewisham, it was a horrible place 11 years ago <unhelpful post>

SaladIsMyFriend Thu 31-Jan-13 13:49:14

It has massively improved in recent years Valium.

Is it odd that the Guardian are reporting this as the hospital "winning" a partial victory?

Won't be a victory for women in labour blue-lighted to Kings or elsewhere, where they are already regularly full to bursting in their maternity wards sad

QEH is also not very well served by public transport - you need to get a bus to get there from the rail station. It's a bit of a faff, especially if you're in a hurry and have no car. Lewisham at least is accessible from Ladywell, and Kings College has Denmark Hill.

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 14:10:51

Valium part of the reason why people don't understand this downgrading is that A LOT of money has gone into improving Lewisham's A & E and shiny Birthing Centre.

Murder, it also has to be factored in that Lewisham residents are one of the lowest car owning population!

Mamf74 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:17:49

Have they clarified what this means to the SLHT? I too agree that this has been on the cards for ages, I'm in the SLHT area and have had to go to Darent Valley for Gynae stuff as all the Gynae's of note left Queen Mary's years ago to move to Darent. I see the same now happening in Lewisham.

LadyWellian Thu 31-Jan-13 14:23:40

Arsing fuckbollocks. What a cunt. I heard Jeremy Hunt say in the House of Commons that he would 'not close any hospitals without proper local consultation and clinical support'. Given that this decision has had neither, I suppose this weaselly behaviour in 'downgrading' rather than 'closing' the A&E is his way of saying he wasn't actually lying through his teeth.

Sadly, in spite of all the campaigning and the excellent media coverage, it seems that the person who told me that shafting Lewisham was a foregone conclusion before the consultation was even launched, was right.

Excuse my language. blush

JakeBullet Thu 31-Jan-13 14:28:31

I would not trust any promises to improve the lives of normal people which are uttrred by this hateful shower we are lumbered with at the moment.

Yes Jeremy Kunt has lied through his teeth but do you know the rest of these scumbags in power he doesn't give a toss.angry .

Mydelilah Thu 31-Jan-13 14:33:05

YANBU. I live in this area and am disgusted! Concur with all the anger expressed by other posters! What is the point of hospitals trying to improve if it means nothing and they still get cut in favour of poorer hospitals it just rewards incompetency in the NHS. And the safety of my family is put at risk by having reduced a&e services nearby

So angry about this I can hardly type. Have very little constructive to add but wanted to show support on the thread. Maybe Jeremy Weasel Hunt will get the message confused. Will there be an appeal?

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 14:37:16

I believe a legal challenge is currently being formulated.

If you're not already following them, please find @savelewishamae on Twitter and also their FB page.

LadyWellian Thu 31-Jan-13 14:37:53

Ah now, hang on, I've just read the full text of the announcement here and they've basically implemented EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE OF THE RIDICULOUS RAIDS ON HEALTHCARE FOR THE PEOPLE OF LEWISHAM THAT THEY ORIGINALLY PROPOSED.

This is not downgrading an A&E - this is closing an A&E. And the state-of-the-art birthing centre. None of which have anything to do with SLHT, which is getting its debts paid off by the Department of Health as well as getting to keep its services.

Great consultation, eh?

HKat Thu 31-Jan-13 14:41:14

It's an appalling decision for all the reasons posters have said above. I had dd in Lewisham last year and whilst the midwife led birthing centre did look fab, I was induced so couldn't make use of it. The maternity ward was great, but over-stretched - so I can't imagine the pressure this will put on the surrounding 'local' maternity wards.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 31-Jan-13 14:44:03

YANBU at all.

It's a despicable fucking decision and leaves the people of SE London ill served.

Jeremy Hunt is a disgrace.

TheSecondComing Thu 31-Jan-13 14:44:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyWellian Thu 31-Jan-13 14:55:56

Oops, sorry, I was so cross I didn't read it properly. So yes, a 'downgraded' A&E. And a midwife-led unit that "will continue to deal with 10% of existing activity". So as long as the birth rate in Lewisham drops by 90%, it'll all be fine.

amicissimma Thu 31-Jan-13 15:04:40

There have been several of these initiatives recently.

I don't imagine that Jeremy Hunt sticks a pin in the map and decides to close/downgrade the nearest hospital, so we must be employing people to study and advise him. If their suggestions are poor and dangerous (I don't know about them, so am not offering an opinion either way), why are we employing useless advisors?

I know a lot of NHS areas are sitting on massive PFI financial timebombs, but don't know about any particular area.

Mydelilah Thu 31-Jan-13 15:07:05

Thanks showtunesgirl. I will follow them. Feeling very militant about this!

LadyWellian Thu 31-Jan-13 15:18:13

Amicissimma I know it's a bit NIMBY of me, but I don't quite understand why they can't close the bankrupt, failing hospitals rather than sticking a pin in a map and closing the nearest financially solvent, well-managed, recently refurbished one. And you say this is happening a lot?

I can't get my head round it. Either we have a health system where management is devolved to the local healthcare trusts, in which case they are independent of one another and can't just go and steal resources from their neighbours when they get in to trouble, or we have a national health service, in which case the financial failings of one trust should be bailed out by the whole, rather than stealing resources from their neighbours.

Can anyone explain this to me? It just feels like if I was the executor of someone's will, and they had died in a load of debt, I would be saying 'that's OK - we'll just sell the neighbours' house to pay off the debts'.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 31-Jan-13 15:35:12

We NEED to have a national health service, which DOES work as a whole, not this parceled out quango run undemocratic bollocks we are being fobbed off with now.

last chance to save the nhs

Iggly Thu 31-Jan-13 15:38:18


This is brazen bollocks. A political decision. Lewisham is in a labour constituency?

Wouldn't happen if it were Tory IMO.

BramblyHedge Thu 31-Jan-13 15:40:21

They have done this to our local hospital Wycombe. I now have to travel 40 minutes to take my kids to a and e if they get breathing problems or an accident and we now only have midwife led unit as well. Stoke Mandeville were turning people away from a and e a few weeks ago as they couldn't cope. It is disgusting. You can have an accident outside what is left of Wycombe hospital and face a long journey to another hospital. We are the biggest town in the county. Think it is happening everywhere.

Iggly Thu 31-Jan-13 15:41:25

This is why they're doing it: As a consequence he also recommended that services be reconfigured beyond the confines of South London NHS Trust, across all of South East London

It's under a blanket excuse to reconfigure.

I looked at the consultation. I responded to the consultation.

The bit about lewisham just seemed ridiculous.

Tory voters - another reason why your government are idiots.

drjohnsonscat Thu 31-Jan-13 16:39:49

I can't get my head round it. Either we have a health system where management is devolved to the local healthcare trusts, in which case they are independent of one another and can't just go and steal resources from their neighbours when they get in to trouble, or we have a national health service, in which case the financial failings of one trust should be bailed out by the whole, rather than stealing resources from their neighbours

LadyWelian, this is a very succinct explanation of the view I've been trying and failing to formulate in my own mind. thank you.

LadyWellian Thu 31-Jan-13 16:47:46

Iggly - quite. Look at this map (page 2) -while QEH is in Nick Raynsford's (Labour) Greenwich and Woolwich constituency, I believe the rest of SLHT's 'assets' are in that big blue area in the bottom right-hand corner.

londonchick Thu 31-Jan-13 16:52:13

Partly because the other local hospitals have facilities that they call core facilities. I.e. an A&E unit attached to a stroke unit has more chance of staying open due to the facilities. And I have to say, there are massive pressures put upon the stroke services in SE London.

I don't work for them but I know people who do

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 17:12:31

LadyWellian, the political landscape was indeed pointed out by the Editor of The Big Issue when they held Question Time at Goldsmith's College a few weeks ago.

Cut the Labour hospital and keep the Tory ones. And here I was thinking that healthcare should be for all no matter your political affiliation.

DreamingofSummer Thu 31-Jan-13 17:26:31

Jeremy Hunt is his own rhyming slang

VinegarDrinker Thu 31-Jan-13 17:39:55

It's an absolute disgrace. Neither Kings nor QEH has the staffing or capacity to deal with any extra patients. It is simply unsafe.

The Lewisham MLU is lovely but it was never designed to replace Delivery Suite.

Iggly Thu 31-Jan-13 18:46:32

There's a surprise Lady

pluCaChange Thu 31-Jan-13 19:23:14

I'll be very interested to see the legal challenge.

Jeremy Hunt is doing as he's been told (from above, not by those consulted), which means this was all planned.

blackeyedsusan Thu 31-Jan-13 19:24:55

yanbu. it is rewarding failure.

jennylindinha Thu 31-Jan-13 19:36:58

This is a total travesty and very depressing.


My DD was born in Lewisham and the care I received was great. The birthing centre is BEAUTIFUL and only a couple of years old. I would have been there if not for my high blood pressure and induction.

Lewisham is a highly populated place, I don't see how the are will cope.

UWSmum Thu 31-Jan-13 19:51:13

Yanbu. Can't agree more that we need a coherent plan to solve the PFI legacy crisis, which doesn't put unborn babies and mums at risk. Nationally renegotiate the terms of the debt to make it manageable. Just hope a legal challenge doesn't wait for the increased maternal/infant mortality stats.

tiredemma Thu 31-Jan-13 19:57:30

He is a cunt. In a party of cunts.

Anyone who votes these shower of shite back in needs to have a strong word with themselves.

HelloCheeky Thu 31-Jan-13 20:09:17

Please keep up the fight everybody ! Keep checking the savelewisham a and e website and Facebook page.

25,000 people demonstrated last week. There is power in numbers.

annabeldp Thu 31-Jan-13 20:41:57

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.

showtunesgirl Thu 31-Jan-13 21:07:09

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?

pluCaChange Thu 31-Jan-13 21:21:24

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... hmm

annabeldp Thu 31-Jan-13 21:24:07

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.

PissStickMeg Thu 31-Jan-13 21:47:38

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?

chandellina Thu 31-Jan-13 22:27:41

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.

LadyWellian Thu 31-Jan-13 22:57:30

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.

showtunesgirl Fri 01-Feb-13 00:32:45

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.

SE13Mummy Fri 01-Feb-13 00:35:33

YANBU...but I know a man who is <and a whole lot of other words too> angry

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 hmm.

pluCaChange Fri 01-Feb-13 00:47:03

Which new school is that, SE13Mummy, the one on the site where Trinity used to be, or another one?

Monty27 Fri 01-Feb-13 00:56:16

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. angry

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).


showtunesgirl Fri 01-Feb-13 01:16:53

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. angry

Monty27 Fri 01-Feb-13 01:20:33

Yeh and he knows about accounts doesn't he? not

We don't want PFI we want our Welfare State back. Free health care for everyone angry

Monty27 Fri 01-Feb-13 01:21:00


GrandPoohBah Fri 01-Feb-13 04:41:22

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.

bochead Fri 01-Feb-13 14:33:55

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.

pluCaChange Fri 01-Feb-13 16:59:25

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?


pluCaChange Fri 01-Feb-13 18:51:12

Dreams, I'm sure that nobody knows, or if they do, they're not telling... yet.

SE13Mummy Sun 03-Feb-13 18:00:35

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 sad.

orangeone Sun 03-Feb-13 19:31:10


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'.

HelloCheeky Sun 03-Feb-13 21:13:25

Please stay angry and don't give up the fight !

ZebraOwl Mon 04-Feb-13 02:26:39

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.)

justturned40 Mon 04-Feb-13 17:09:03

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?

HelloCheeky Mon 04-Feb-13 19:20:45

Keep checking the savelewishamhospital website for the ongoing campaign everybody.

BangOn Mon 04-Feb-13 19:58:24

Downgrading A&E; downgrading paediatric a & e; downgrading maternity serices. These are the actions of a government which wants more of its citizens to die needlessly. To save it money. Are you lot really going to stqnd for this?

BangOn Mon 04-Feb-13 20:08:21

I don't know how many of you have heard of Max Keiser, but he's a former wall street trader, turned harsh critic of neo-liberal economics & has a great Jon Stewart-style show on Russia Today (which is on freeview over here). He actually compares the actions of this government on the NHS etc to attempted genocide. Of course it was a comment designed to provoke a reaction, but there may be a grain of truth to it.

orangeone Mon 04-Feb-13 23:37:45

Latest news on what a total lying b***tard the Health minister is....

pluCaChange Tue 05-Feb-13 11:11:43

BangOn, with regard to downgrading maternity services, that was a proposal which has been around for years. I responded to a consultation a few years ago (i.e. under a Labour government) about that one.

Doesn't make it right, though.

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