"Close Lewisham A&E" plan sent to Health Secretary - UPDATE: QT protest planned

The recommendation to close Lewisham A&E was submitted to the Health Secretary today. The Evening Standard reports:

A London hospital has moved closer to losing its highly-praised accident and emergency department despite an outcry from clinicians and patients and a 15,000-strong protest march.

NHS administrator Matthew Kershaw today refused to withdraw a proposal to axe Lewisham hospital’s casualty unit.

It will now be up to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to decide next month whether to accept his recommendations to shake-up the care provided by a number of hospitals in south-east London over the next three years.

This government says believes that market forces can help to bring greater discipline to public services, so let's see if Jeremy Hunt is willing to let a well-run hospital lose out because of the failings of a poorly-run trust. Closing Lewisham Hospital A&E would be a moral hazard in more than one sense.

UPDATE: On Twitter, Tessa Jowell MP (pressing for reassurances that Kings College A&E will be safeguarded) says of the Lewisham plan: "Jeremy Hunt is seeking further legal advice. @andyburnhammp has asked for this to be published. I support @andyburnhammp broader position that Lewisham Hospital is outside the remit of TSA terms of reference."

UPDATE: There will be a protest about the threatened closure at the recording of BBC One's Question Time tomorrow, which is taking place at Goldsmiths tomorrow. Meet at the Richard Hoggart Building from 17:30.

44 comments:

Dr Dre said...

Finally, some sense on this issue.

Brockley Nick said...

Thanks

Dr Dre said...

No, I meant the submitted recommendation.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, I know, you were being facetious.

Mezzer said...

Looks like a legal challenge is our best bet for keeping Lewisham operational, with Jeremy Hunt holding the rubber stamp.   

Dr Dre said...

 fa·ce·tious  
/fəˈsēSHəs/
Adjective
Treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.


Nope. Are we not allowed to agree with the recommendations of others then? Is there a party line here?

Westsider said...

I love it when people have to look up definitions

Michael said...

I'm sure we all have confidence in Jeremy Hunt doing the right thing.

Max Calò said...

Recommending drastic cuts to services to achieve savings saving whilst overspending your own budget by 25% is also very facetious.
Not just Matthew Kershaw's report is based on false data, not just he and his panel ignored the reality as it was pointed at them during the consultation but he managed to spend a whole extra million to come up with this dog's dinner.
He surely deserves a knighthood.

Darian Thomson said...

It's NOT market forces otherwise the problem South London NHS Trust would suffer not Lewisham. It's like the ITV going bust but Sky Television has to suffer!

Tamsin said...

But what a waste of public money - a Local Authority suing the Department of Health.

Tamsin said...

Sorry - that was menat to be in reply to Mezzer...

Max Calò said...

It doesn't have to necessarily be like that, but the Council must show it's determined to mount the legal challenge if needed.

Andy Redfern said...

The fact that this is happening is all the fault of the voters of Lewisham. After all, this time twenty years ago, the borough had two Conservative MPs and six Conservative councillors. Now, there's two Tory councillors and no hope of a Tory MP in the near future (although both the LibDems and Greens have increased their vote).

Quite frankly, the Tories know they no longer have any chance in the borough, so are cutting their losses. This recommendation is as beyond contempt as it is beyond reason.

Tamsin said...

Another bigger, better (and hopefully dryer) march planned for 26th January - ending with music etc. in Mountsfield Park.

Go to www.savelewishamhospital.com to give your details to be kept informed and to offer to help out leafletting at regular stalls throughout the Borough - some people still don't know about it.

The report (all several hundred pages of it) is available here:
http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/2013/01/south-london-healthcare

The Mayor's reaction is:

Below is the Mayor of Lewisham’s response to the final report by the
Trust Special Administrator at South London Healthcare NHS Trust which calls
for the closure of both Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity departments
 that was published today.



The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said: “I
feared all along that this process was set up to rush through ill-conceived
proposals with no intention of listening to the views of local people, the
people who use local health services and the people who work in our local
health services. Today we have the confirmation. Mr Kershaw’s ears were closed.
These were seriously flawed proposals in draft and they remain seriously flawed
and dangerous proposals. The Secretary of State should reject them.


 
“I urge
everyone who can to join the march on 26 January to show Jeremy Hunt how
strongly we feel as a community about these proposals.”

Andy Redfern said...

Apologies - my previous statistics were incorrect. The Borough of Lewisham nowadays only has one Conservative councillor, since the defection of Cllr Britton to Labour.

cbw said...

I get your point, but it's a bit much to suggest that Lewisham voters should have had the foresight to cast just enough Tory votes to ensure that the Tories didn't consider Lewisham a lost cause and disregard its' voters opinions when the party came to power.

Anon said...

Has the Health Secretary expressed an opinion on this mad idea yet?

Anon said...

 Are you being sarcastic?

Anon said...

 That would be a crazy way to consider ones vote....

Jimmy said...

 Sir Steve Bullock, said: “I feared all along that this process was set up to rush through ill-conceived proposals with no intention of listening to the views of local people"
Dontcha just hate it when that happens

Michael said...

I'll give you two guesses.

Andy Redfern said...

My apologies for not being clear. I was being sarcastic about blaming Lewisham voters. However, my point about a Tory-appointed administrator recommending to axe a perfectly-functioning A&E in a borough where the Tories have one councillor, no MPs and no real chance of gains... well, you decide.

Tamsin said...

It's also the case that Lewisham is the only hospital in the area with real estate that can be sold off - the others are entirely tied up in PFI contracts.

BenH said...

Is is almost worth rushing through a emergency law and re-nationalising these hospitals. PFI is a bloody disaster.

NAT said...

@ Andy Redfern, 1 Tory Councillor, but I hope the 11 Lib Dem councillors are hearing from their constituents. None in my ward unfortunately.

for the love of said...

I don't quite get why what appears to be well run service by Lewisham is punished and has to pay for another trust's mismanagement. Bit like Lloyds bailing RBS. I'd like to know if the muppets running South Lonon Healthcare Trust (SLHT) are still running the show on over-inflated salaries or have been given a golden goodbye. Great message to send out - screw up and someone else will pay. Bleedin typical. SLHT should have gone to the wall.

Danja said...

 A good part of the reason is that Lewisham Hospital management seems to have said that that they want to take over management of QE2 Woolwich, so they stuck their neck (and everyone else's) into the noose.

Tamsin said...

Absolutely.  Agreed that massive capital investment was needed to rebuild hospitals (the new ones are a delight - clean, airy and with corridors actually wide enough to get a bed down) - but why get banks and financiers involved when in the past it has simply been a matter of issuing direct bonds to the public?  Think of the War Loan and the like.  Mark you the answer is that the financiers and bankers went school with the politicians and higher level civil servants and came up with some subtle and unsubtle lobbying to show why they should get their fingers in the pie and snouts in the trough.

Tamsin said...

Unfortunately a heath trust caring for the well-being of three boroughs can't go the wall.  And it was not necessarily the fault of the current management that they were burdened with appalling PFI payments.

Max Calò said...

They are only burdened with this appalling PFI because the political class refuses to consider legislating to rescind those PFI contracts that are abnormally costly like this one. I've been told that in Germany they did it and declared void the contracts that were too expensive. And yet the world kept on turning.

With Mr Kershaw's fabulous  plan we'd still pay for the contract, only that instead of being overcharged we'd pay for absolutely nothing at all.

Max Calò said...

Nick Ferrari has just announced that Mayor Bullock will speak there soon about the Hospital.
And tomorrow morning there's Nick Clegg taking phone calls live there so a good opportunity for all of us to raise the profile by phoning in there.
There's a messaging system set up to put forward issues to Clegg:
http://www.lbc.co.uk/deputy-prime-minister-nick-clegg-joins-lbc-973-65340

Max Calò said...

I thought he was very good, he promoted the demo of Saturday 26th January and express determination to challenge an eventual decision through the legal routes. Also good to hear that Nick Ferrari is fully supporting the campaign.

None said...

In the hands of Jeremy Hunt?  We're screwed.

Max Calò said...

My understanding is that when the then Secretary of State Andrew Lansley appointed Kershaw as TSA of SLHT he did so with an act that specifies that his job would include looking at the reorganization of Health provision in South East London so by the time the management of Lewisham Hospital put themselves forward to manage the new organization envisaged by Kershaw the ball was already rolling.
Now, whatever opinion one has of Jeremy Hunt, a positive is that he's not Lansley, whose signature is on the project.

Danja said...

I think Kershaw would have struggled to make that recommendation if Lewisham had taken the stance that it wanted nothing to do with the QE2 site.  It would have been difficult for him to make a recommendation that one hospital be forced against the will of its management to take over another.  It  made it much easier to do so, and to rationalise the consequences for the Lewisham site, when Lewisham volunteered to merge with QE2.

Michael Harris said...

I think the line raised by Andy Burnham in the Commons yesterday that Kershaw was acting beyond his powers by including Lewisham hospital in this "consultation" is the right tack... Totally agree with this post on "moral hazard". No better way to demolish NHS incentives to improve if good hospitals can be sacrificed for bad ones.

Mezzer said...

It's unfortunately looking increasingly like the only tack....

Max Calò said...

You're right, it would have made matters more difficult, but they may have been given the understanding that more services at Lewisham would have been protected. They are in an awkard position and I struggle to believe that they would have put themselves in this situation knowingly

Daniel Woods said...

sent copy of flyer to bc nick, but he hasn't posted. i asked him to publicise protest tomorrow, 10th jan at goldsmith's bbc question time, 17:30 start

Anonymous said...

I've just seen an internal document shown to me by someone involved with this process, and it makes for truly depressing reading. The battle for Lewisham hospital has been lost as Jeremy Hunt will be accepting the recommendations of the administrator. The remaining units will be used as overflow from other hospitals in the short term, the plan is then to mothball the whole of Lewisham hospital for a period and then reopen it as a private hospital.

Tamsin said...

Don't despair yet - according to what I was told while leafletting over the weekend, the higher eschelons of the Civil Service are doubting whether Kershaw has not exceeded his remit.  I was quoted the names David Flory and David Nicholson to check out on-line.

And even if we lose this battle - like Twyford Down - the government won't do the same thing in the same way again.

So march on Saturday (it should be really enjoyable and good natured if the last one was anything to go by), come to Mountsfield Park, sign the giant petition and pick up an envelope to write to Hunt with your views on why - by their own criteria - this is such a bad idea.

anonymouse said...

 I've heard stories like this for the last 3 weeks or so, lost count of the people I've met who've 'beenj told' by 'someone in the know' etc. You've probably seen someones daft blue-skyed fantasy which is unlikely to be adopted.

city0880 said...

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