Lewisham Conservatives announce nothing about the fate of Lewisham A&E

Kent Brockman: I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work.
- The Simpsons, Bart's Comet

Lewisham Conservatives have just announced their concern about the anxiety that the plans to close Lewisham A&E - the fault of Labour, natch - might have caused some local people. They have urged other people to do something about it - pro or anti, it doesn't matter. The important thing is, the Deputy Chairman does a lot of work for good causes.

In only the time it took Labour to raise 14,000 signatures for a petition to save it, the Tories have rushed out the following press release:

Local Conservatives have expressed anxiety about recent reports that the A+E and some maternity services at the Lewisham Hospital will close. Stella Kyriazis, Deputy Chairman of the Lewisham and Deptford Conservative Association, said: 

“As a volunteer at Lewisham Hospital , I witness first-hand the excellent service provided by staff within these departments. I also see the great anxiety of many people who are worried about losing their jobs.

"Labour’s PFI failure has crippled South London NHS Trust. While operating costs have reduced significantly over the past four years, Labour’s PFI legacy has made that reduction irrelevant. This is because South London NHS Trust spends above the national average on PFI costs, a fact that brought us to the messy situation we are today." 

Lewisham Conservatives urge local residents to respond to the consultation on the future of the trust as it struggles with the legacy of Labour’s bust PFI deal.

One of the most depressing examples of party politics since the Southern Strategy.

37 comments:

Tamsin said...

Agreed - but at least they are giving the go-ahead to their supporters who might be concerned about deviating from the party line. And please, everyone, the capital P Politics out of it. SWP stop sniping at Labour, Labour stop getting all defensive in response to the SWP and don't try to make political capital out of it by getting at the Coalition, and the Coalition stop blaming the Unions and the doctors. No-one has the moral high ground.

Just take the consultation opportunity - a brief window closing midnight on 13th December - to point out the clinical and financial flaws in the TSA's proposals - come up with alternative proposals if we can - or at least send him back to his very expensive drawing board.

Anonymous said...

If only you had the balls to be so critically honed when it comes to Darren and the Greens, perhaps I'd respect you a little bit more.

Anonymous said...

Lets face it Tamsin the SWP are running this campaign. They are the only people locally who have the capacity and the committment.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - all parties are capable of putting out this kind of dissembling nonsense. Some more than others. I hope I call it on a case-by-case basis. I am not a Green supporter.

@Tamsin - "their supporters who might be concerned about deviating from the party line."

If you need the go-ahead from your party to take part in a consultation on an issue as important as this, you should not be allowed a vote.

mb said...

Poor attempt at diverting the debate. PFIs were used by both flavours of previous administration (Thanks thatch/Gordon) and are used by he current one. Often used inappropriatly and let poorly. Misunderstanding or ignoring the risk liability and cynically getting borrowing of the government books. We still finance the borrowing but we ultimatly underwrite the majority of the risk. Profits privatised, risk nationalised.

Im no bean counter, there may be areas where this kind of financing is sensible if approached properly. For essential infastructure and services its questionable.

mb said...

...by poor attempt i was refering to the Conservatives...

Anonymous said...

both the conservatives and Labour are equally committed to PFI - it just so happens that in this case Lewisham Labour are able to try and occupy the high moral ground - but PFI is the core of Lewisham labour.

and the anon who thinks the SWP are running this is wrong, completely wrong - I know for a fact that it's being run in a non-political way, but some factions are trying to make political capital from it

D said...

I wasn't aware that adding my signature to the petition indicated my support of the Labour party.

Anonymous said...

Question! Which e’petition does one sign?
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41027
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lewisham-hospital/
The problem is caused by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich PFI contract, Not Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

Brave and edgy of you to take such a hard line on the powerful local Tories, who have wielded such power around here for such a long time.
I have never seen a press release from any other party being treated in such a dismissive fashion. Your tone towards the Greens is always especially referential, (think Pravda reporting on the Central Committee). So while you may not be a Green you show considerable bias towards their every utterance. It is a shame because it politicises the hospital campaign by default in the eyes of people who voted for the coalition.

Anonymous said...

And they say Tories are pompous and humourless...

Brockley Nick said...

"Your tone towards the Greens is always especially referential..."

Examples of reverence please?

"I have never seen a press release from any other party being treated in such a dismissive fashion."

I've never seen a press release so worthy of it.

"It is a shame because it politicises the hospital campaign by default in the eyes of people who voted for the coalition"

No, the original press release politicises the issue, which is one of the reasons I objected to it so much. My opinion, as someone who is not a supporter of any political party, does not politicise it.

Tamsin said...

@Anon 14.29 The action is being spear-headed by Dr Louise Irvine, a local GP - basically an independent as far as party politics is concerned - campaiging on issues (ran for Mayor under the Lewisham Education Action by Parents banner a decade ago) rather than through any party allegience. Other bodies involved are SOS Lewisham NHS - primarily local Labour Party activists - and KONP - where admittedly individuals may also be members of the SWP but which is not the same body.

Also heavily involved in the donkey-work - a central leaflet pick up point and phoning around to arrange meeting venues - are my employers, the Lewisham Penioners Forum - a politically minded group (set up nearly 30 years ago to campaign on issues affecting the elderly) but definately with a small "p". Our members have joined with other individuals to do a lot of the leg-work leafletting etc.

The SWP may have been vocal at public meetings (possibly to a discourteous extent) but they are definitely not running the show. It is a coalition (if that is not too dirty a word nowadays) of concerned organisations and individuals - with repeated pleas from the top to concentrate on the issues, and the flaws in the draft report, and leave capital P Politics entirely out of it.

darryl said...

Lewisham Conservatives' line is spookily similar to that of Greenwich Council, which is run by Labour.

Anonymous said...

You obviously do not think that Labour should be held to account for signing a financially disastrous PFI / PPP deal.

Why is that Nick?

Why so silent about other local examples of epic misspending by Labour?

Brockley Nick said...

You've completely missed the point. If the Tories had put out a release saying that they supported the closure, arguing that cuts were necessary, because of previous spending mistakes, I'd have respected that.

But they didn't. They just issued a completely empty statement that did nothing but deflect any responsibility. This statement completely sits on the fence about what should happen and is thus worthless. It insults the intelligence and contributes nothing.

Anonymous said...

You votes Con/Lib, you gets monkeys.

bilko6 said...

Agree with Tamsin .Have those saying its an SWP led campaign actually been to any meetings? There may be some SWP etc invovement there , but in an active group of probably a few hundred is that any reason not to support the actual campaign? .

I ve been active in leafletting - sure I`m a community minded old school "lefty" but not party affiliated in any way at all .

The fact that Lewisham A and E saved my partners` life earlier this year is reason enough for me to be involved .

Anonymous said...

@ Nick Barron

If Labour's mishandling of a PPP / PFI deal has placed SE London's hospitals under financial stress, is that not worth some scrutiny?

Why are you not looking at that? Why are you trying to deflect attention away from identified problems?

If that is a root cause of the requirement to rationalise NHS provision in this area, then why are you not doing some real journalism to give us the details about that?

You are accusing that press statement of being glib, opportunistic and lacking in substance. Well take a good long look in the mirror.

Unless you want to be dismissed as a partisan hack, surely you should be tackling Labour's local misspending. That is assuming that you would actually want to hold them to account.

If integrity matters to you, why not start with a proper article about the costs of that PPP / PFI deal? Then you might recover some credibility.

Anonymous said...

For goodness sake why and who cares about who did what and when. This OUR HOSPITAL. Get your heads out of the political morass.

Anonymous said...

Nick isn't a journalist - he works in PR, so his interests, output and response (in terms of this blog) is based on that

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon2338 - thanks for your feedback, you're right, someone should point out that this mess is the result of a mismanaged PFI (if only someone had done that repeatedly!). Now, what do you think should happen to the A&E department?

X Files said...

Oh dear... The anons (or possibly the same obsessive anon) is creating a dark Edelman conspiracy. It would be PR spin if he was being paid by some group (who would that be anon?) to attack the conservative. Proof? You have none.

Nick lives in brockley, he writes about issues that affect brockley. This affects brockley. The comment section is open for people like you to sling around guesses about his motives, he could "moderate" it. He doesn't, or is that part of his strategy?

Answers of a scrap of toilet paper in green crayon please.

Anonymous said...

More petty squabbling about zilch. Demonstrate on Saturday. Do something.

Anonymous said...

X files - it's your fantasy, don't try to blame other people for it

Carol said...

Thank you to those who are demonstrating to keep Lewisham A&E open. They recently saved my life and I cannot sleep sometimes thinking A&E might shut. To those who care about who is doing X and why they are - get your priorities straight, please. I couldn't care if it was left, right or aliens from Mars. Because of Lewisham A&E I can post today, because of Lewisham A&E my daughter has a mother.

Anonymous said...

Why do so many Trots, and their fellow travellers always have to hide behind this facade of community group, broad coalition, etc, etc, label. It's almost as if they have something to be ashamed of. People before Profit do exactly the same. At least the SWP are honest about their beliefs.

max said...

This campaign is full of people of any colour. Would you expect not to find people from SWP of PbP there? Why?

You know what you'll also find? Disillusioned tories!

And quite rightly! Because if you're a tory voter that's been working a lifetime paying all your taxes and you see a tory government closing your local A&E after David Cameron had previously promised to stand for NHS and also specifically defend Lewisham Hospital then you can't help but setting the scales coming off your eyes.

Obviously tory party wonks whose priority is to keep the flock together and that have a problem with standing in the same room with people of a different opinion can just stay at home.
Honestly we're so much better off without them.

All others come an help!

Anonymous said...

"People before Profit do exactly the same"

can you give a concrete example of this?

Dartford Mike said...

Tch Tch, a brazenly political posting. This is a shame, as you (otherwise)have a really good magazine going, which I like to read,from my NW Kent hide out!. But seriously, you shouldn't assume that your readers are anti Tory - they might be, but (nevertheless)the Labour party has a lot to answer for,especially it's disregard for the working class person's outlook on life (as opposed to Blair /Brown/Harman's middle class snobbery).

dur... said...

Whos assuming the readers are anti Tory? Is Nick supposed to never have an opinion? As for blatent political manouvering can i refer you to the Conservative press release? Regardless of whether you agree or not with the points, it's clearly using a serious issue to score a point. As stated before, the comment section is open for those who feel the need to inject some balance.

Anyway, back to the point....

Tamsin said...

On the point - a public meeting tomorrow in Greenwich. Not part of the Consultation series, although a TSA representative will be there, and offering an alternative solution:

PUBLIC MEETING

THE FUTURE OF OUR HOSPITAL NHS SERVICES

22ND NOVEMBER 11AM TO 1PM
CHARLTON HOUSE, CHARLTON VILLIAGE SE7
IN THE OLD LYBRARY

PRESENTATION BY A MEMBER OF THE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS TEAM

GP RON SINGER, IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE?

Come and hear why our NHS is in trouble and what is the solution!!
THIS IS AN OPEN INVITATION. IT IS OUR NHS

ORGANISED BY GREENWICH PENSIONERS FORUM.

PUBLIC MEETING

THE FUTURE OF OUR HOSPITAL NHS SERVICES

22ND NOVEMBER 11AM TO 1PM
CHARLTON HOUSE, CHARLTON VILLIAGE SE7
IN THE OLD LIBRARY

PRESENTATION BY A MEMBER OF THE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATORS TEAM

GP RON SINGER, IS THERE AN ALTERNATIVE?

Come and hear why our NHS is in trouble and what is the solution!!
THIS IS AN OPEN INVITATION. IT IS OUR NHS

ORGANISED BY GREENWICH PENSIONERS FORUM.

Anonymous said...

And lets not forget the march and hands around the hospital on Saturday afternoon.

I expect everyone has filled in the consultation document?

kolp said...

When you have to find £20 BILLION of cuts it going to hurt and we in Lewisham because this area is Labour, perceived as lefty, is pretty poor, not well connected we all are going to suffer. Hence our local hospital which has nothing to do with the failing SLH is the biggest casualty. Losing it's A&E and maternity.

It is inequitable and unacceptable.

Cameron invoked Wartime rhethoric on Monday,->http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2012/nov/19/david-cameron-cbi-economy-video

I'm going to invoke it too.
*The NHS is under attack* ->
http://manchestermule.com/article/patient-transport-privatised-as-nhs-hit-by-budget-pressures

Fight Back, Be there on Saturday. We need to show numbers! that we in Lewisham are all in together. This our hospital. Look on twitter at that #thanksLewisham hashtag. It's heartbreaking but also inspiring stuff.

We are not going to be treated like trash. Fill in the that consultantion and make Kershaw think again. Say what you feel, even you can't construct a fancy counter argument. Just DO it. Fight!

http://www.tsa.nhs.uk/tell-us-what-you-think

Anonymous said...

Wow, finding myself agreeing with Kolp, we're in a strange land here! Can't bear thought of losing lovely new A&E, & maternity unit where I spent last most of last 3 weeks of my pregnancy and 1st week of daughters life. If it had been Woolwich (1) Id never have made my monitoring sessions at the DAU as it was snowing, car was stuck on ice & had to walk there & back each day (2) NO-ONE would have visited me, as it was lots of friends & family could come & support me in my local hospital.

Tamsin said...

Exactly - and translate that into the difficulties of cross-borough Social Workers engaging in the wrap-around care that helps bring people out of hospital when the A&E admittance is in Woolwich rather than Lewisham and you see that the TSA's proposals do not make financial sense, irrespective of the financial implications.

John Hamilton said...

On Monday afternoon at the TSA’s consultation meeting in Brockley I asked Matthew Kershaw if the £25.1million he has asked the government to fund, per year, towards the PFI repayments of £69million was the amount by which he felt it was overpriced. I asked if he thought the taxpayers should be paying that, whether directly by central government or via the NHS trust. He said that this was the sum by which he thought the repayments were excessive compared to the local ability to pay. (i.e. in a different area of Britain £69 might not be excessive if there were more money, more patients, or something) and not related to the rip-off interest rates being charged on an initial outlay of £210million 8 to 10 years ago, of which at least £455 has already been paid back (£535 has been paid, but around £8m per year is not “repayments” but payment for “services” like cleaning, I T support, etc. at inflated prices, so around £80m max).

I also asked him if the initial PFI contractors, Barclays Private Equity, Taylor-Woodrow and Innisfree were still the beneficiaries of the contract. This is generally secret information and even BBC’s File on 4 was unable to get straight answers (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011vf2f ). Matthew Kershaw said that the contracts was substantially in the same hands, so we know who to approach with a request to reduce the payments or annul the contract.

There’s a short video of the consultation meeting at http://www.PeopleBeforeProfit.org.uk or at http://youtu.be/U_Hg5dSM-n4 It leaves Matthew Kershaw in no doubt of people’s hostility to his proposals.

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