Protest against Lewisham A&E closure

Tomorrow, Lewisham residents will protest against the planned closure of Lewisham A&E and the cessation of some other services currently provided by Lewisham Hospital.

The protest on Saturday 24th November will march from Loampit Vale roundabout at 2pm, and link hands around Lewisham Hospital at 3pm, with a rally held afterwards in Ladywell Fields.

Another Public Meeting, organised by the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign will be held on Wednesday 28th November at 7pm in the Broadway Theatre, Catford, with Dr John Lister and Dr Louise Irvine of Lewisham Hospital speaking.

Dr Irvine commented:

“This is not a difficult decision that the government is making - it is a deadly decision. The extra distance and time it will take to travel to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich will mean that those who need urgent medical attention may be forced to pay with their lives."


Anonymous said...

Of course the PFI pays the salaries of many people in the industries bound up in this - bankers, developers etc etc - and all the other companies that suckle at their teats.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone I know it's raining and cold but *please* everyone that can come out please do go to Loampit Vale at TODAY. To show that we want our local hospital to retain its A&E and maternity services.

Ed said...

We're going!

Ed & Emma

kolp said...

One word in terms of the Demo- Awesome.

The fight continues...

max said...

Amazing turnout indeed. From where I was in the march I cound't see either ends of the flow. Many thousands of people, difficult to say how many.

Tamsin said...

Well we were in a win-win situation with the weather. If it had been nice - huge numbers and everyone could stay dry. With the rain - 8000+ (according to what the police told the stewards) - and what sort of statement is that to make to the TSA and Secretary of State!

max said...

But obviously the press reports otherwise.

The Evening Standard

...and ITV

I start to see a pattern.

max said...

Thee BBC performs only marginally better with a conservative "more than 2000":

max said...

Running commentary on the press coverage, the Evening Standard has just taken down the article about the protest.

Anonymous said...

It was an impressive turnout give the inclement weather. Several thousand, for sure.

How the numbers are estimated on a march like this is a bit of mystery.

max said...

Evening Standard amends the news:

Tamsin said...

One of the senior policemen watching people going through into the park at the pinch-point of the gate, estimating numbers per minute and time taken, reached the figure of 8000 - so that is probably fairly accurate. He would have no interest in falsely inflating it.

Reality check said...

Read the evening standard piece. Those speaking for participating groups should be careful not to lose credibility by over-egging the pudding - not sure where the Jos who was quoted in the amended article got the figure of 15000 from but the police said 8000 and another 1000 or so through the southern entrances to the park is probably quite likely.

Nine thousand people prepared to face the apalling weather that was forecast is quite good enough,

George Hallam said...

Most people entered Ladywell Fields through the north entrance to the park. They did so in just about an hour.

How fast were they doing so?

I was at the entrance for the last 15-20 minutes trying to get people in as fast as possible. I was too busy to do a count at that time but early on the police estimated the rate at about 150 per minute.

On the basis of this and other experiments (120 people per minute) I would say that reasonable limits would be between 100 and 200 per minuet. That would mean in 60 minuets there would be between 6,000 and 12,000 people coming in to Ladywell Fields. The estimate of 8,100 was made shortly before the last people in. That seems fair enough.

Obviously there were many people who participated who didn't get to be counted; but not 7,000 (i.e. 15,000 minus 8,000).

If people want make them feels good then they might, if they wish, claim 10,000, but this would be the top end of plausible estimates.

Whatever the exact number, for an event organised at short notice and based on a single borough, this was a very large demonstration. But that’s just a quantitative measure

The really significant point is the QUALITY of the demonstration.

a) The overwhelming majority of those involved were ordinary, local people.

b) Compared with most demonstrations we were highly organised. Because we were demonstrating near a hospital it was vital that we didn’t disrupt access for patients, visitors and, not least, ambulances. Yes there was a lot of spontaneity, but we had thousands of people walking round through narrow pedestrian passages and along the pavement in front of the Hospital to complete a moving circle.

We are organised and we are not going to melt away like the anti-war movement did after the ‘million-strong march’ of 2003. We are serious and this means being objective about everything we do. We don’t need or want inflated estimates of the numbers on demonstrations.

Anonymous said...

It was an amazing turn out, though sadly for one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs of London the vast majority of the demonstrators did not reflect that diversity...if, as I'm sure everyone will suspect, this fight has a long way to go, it would be good to try and figure how any future demos can change this

Lou Baker said...

Clearly there was not 15,000 people there.

That was just a bit of PR spin by the organisers.

Let's be generous and say 10,000 turned up.

For those 10,000 if you feel passionately enough there is another way.

Dip your hand in your pocket and fund the shortfall.

Without change the NHS in south London is short by around £1.3m a week.

10,000 of you - that's £130 each. Almost £7000 a year.

Cough up and your services can stay the same. It really is that simple.

Anonymous said...

Have to say that for a protest to get some respect you should at least all campaign for the same thing... I lost a lot of respect for it when I saw numerous "Get the Tories out" banners from the Socialist Workers Party and the "Greenwich Labour Party vote for Socialism and Peace" banner.

Try to stay on the topic of a closing A&E department.

Would also add that as I wandered home along Ladywell Road I felt very sorry for whoever was in the ambulance with flashing blue lights and siren blaring that couldn't move as it was trapped in the backlog from the protests road closures. Didn't anybody think about that before blocking off the roads?

Also, I'm intrigued by the march to the hospital concept. Pretty sure it wasn't be the decision of people in the hospital to close the A&E, so the decision makers probably won't have seen this first hand. Anti-war protestors didn't march to Iraq to stop the War in Iraq...

max said...

Obviously the shortfall is pretty much entirely due to an abysmal pfi contract that was evidently signed off by someone completely insane - not by excessive running costs.

The best thing to do would be to renegotiate the contract. The government can do that and that's what they should be doing.

Unfortunately neither the SLHT administrator nor his cheerleaders want the truth to get in the way of a good story.

max said...

Anonymous, I was very close to an ambulance with flashing blue lights turning right at the end of Ladywell Road and what I saw is that people just moved to let it pass. And the staff on the ambulance looked definitely very pleased by the march indeed.

As for the political banners, that goes with the territory, this is a fight against a political decision.
This SLHT administrator was nominated by Andrew Lansley, his word is that of this Tory party,

As to why a march to protect an hospital wants to march to the very hospital is wants to protect, well, what's there that you don't understand?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone point to website where the facts and issues of this planned this closure is explained clearly? How did we get here? What are the alternatives. Who makes the decisions? What went wrong?

So far all I have heard are strong emotional responses from people who feel personally affected by plans and the usual political noise from opportunists with long standing axes to grind.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 13.17 Yes you are right to ask for he cool balm of reason to be applied to this issue. Talk of people dying if this or that change is made, really needs to be backed up with clinical statistics, or else it is just another piece of hysterical shroud waving that so defaces all debates about NHS reform.
I am surprised by how little coverage the actual demo got on this site.

Henry's Cat said...

Anonymous at 13.17 - JFGI.

Anonymous said...

No - they shouldn't 'just fucking google it' - the burden of proof is on the complainers.

At the moment I'm seeing a lot of emotional response too from people who couldn't be arsed to go to Greenwich - but no sat down, considered, reasoned discussion.

Anonymous said...

There are brief, objective, reasoned points here

Unlike mathew kershaw, the campaign has not had a million pound team putting weeks of effort into selecting dubious evidence to back up an ideological assault on nhs services.

The critical care and emergency department consultants have written letters disputing his process and evidence. There will be a detailed, comprehensive report from the campaign shortly. But lewisham has been blind-sided by this, and we are relying on knowledge citizens to invest time and effort into mounting a response. There aren't magic fairies making a campaign happen exactly how you want, there are many, many people working hard. Whether you like it or not, some of them are socialists, some aren't

Lou Baker said...

How anyone could reasonably point to the Save Lewisham hospital factsheet and describe it as 'objective' is beyond me. It is one side of the story.

I know in the cloudcuckooland some of you inhabit money is no objective. It floats down from the sky and provides every library, playcentre, hospital with limitless resources.

In the real world these things have to be paid for through our taxes. Have you not noticed how much people are struggling under the excessive tax burden they already face? Seriously people, get a grip.

Not all change is bad. The NHS is ridiculously unwieldy, horribly bureaucratic and still stuck in 1950s mode. The ONLY important thing about the NHS is the principle behind it. The buildings and yes, the staff, are insignificant.

The NHS has to be reformed so it serves the needs of patients. The socialists will complain - but then these freeloaders spend their miserable lives whinging and zero time actually trying to better themselves.

Anonymous said...

"an ideological assault" More alarmism of the type that sees the changes at Lewisham as an assault on "Our NHS". It's because it a 'national' health service that tough decisions have to be taken that upset certain local sensibilities.
Btw I'm not an activist, and so have no interest in building a campaign or making a case. I would just like to see evidence for assertions such as people will die if they have to go to Woolwich instead of Lewisham. It is good argument, but only if made on basis of actual evidence.

Tamsin said...

It takes significantly longer to get to Woolwich than Lewisham for most Lewisham residents. (The TSA team, it seems googled the journey times rather than testing it in real traffic conditions.)

People taken out of borough will lack the joined up care from their local Social Services which would get them back into their own homes quicker - a good collaboration was beginning to be established between UHL and LBL on this - and so cost the taxpayer more in the long-run.

max said...

I'd like to point at the fact that the economic case for A£E is not so simple that by closing down an A&E you save money.

If there's no A&E in easy reach then people are more likely to either call an ambulance that basically is an A&E on wheels or delay seeing a doctor when instead they should see one, something that in the long run will cost more again.

And outside of the economic case every local community deserves a maternity unit on site. But there is an economic argument to be made also about these other the services offered by Lewisham Hospital that are in danger.

If you are a family with children or about to have one to have a reasonably good access to an hospital that offers maternity and cater for children's needs often means that you can keep on working rather having to take more time off.

These are the kind of sevices that help all of us get by, it's really stressful enough without having to go to Woolwich after you've come back from work or slogging it an hour on the bus off to Woolwich when you're 8 months pregnant.

I really think a local A&E and a local maternity are basic services, just like having transport to go to work.

Anonymous said...

If this happens there will be one A&E at Woolwich for 3 London Boroughs. 750,000 people. Is that a good idea? Why should a solvent hospital like Lewisham be downgraded in order to save face re the PFI disaster that is the South East London Health Trust. I thought the objective of breaking the areas into health trusts was that each would be self-governing. Lucy Mangan put it quite well in the Guardian (shock horror corduroy sandle-wearing leftie).

Tamsin said...

Another public meeting is being held on Wednesday at 7pm in the Broadway Theatre. The police and theatre got a bit concerned about numbers after the success of the demonstration on Saturday as the theatre "only" seats 800. However as before an overflow venue has been booked - St Laurence Church at the top end of Bromley Road - which is close enough for the same two ring circus trick to be run if necessary.

So a mixed message - do come along to hear other speakers in the warm and dry - but be prepared to either queue or face the possibility of being directed somewhere else or even, as happend on 8th November, turned away.

max said...

On Wednesday in two days time?

Henry's cat said...

"No - they shouldn't 'just fucking google it' - the burden of proof is on the complainers." How so? Why don't all the anonymous contributors who seem to think all of the folk who turned up on Sat are a bunch of NHS sentimentalists do their own bloody research and then tell us why the proposals are a good idea. Or you could all just continue to dog whistle anonymously on a web forum...

Tamsin said...

Sorry - yes - Wednesday 28th November. Has to be that quick with the consultation period ending midnight on 13th December.

Also happening with nice serendipity on the same day is the Pensioners Forum AGM (declaration of interest here - my employers) with a speaker on the issue (plus boring bits of electing a management committee and looking at the accounts and fun bits of buying christmas cards and having a mince pie) from 10.30 to 12.30 in the Civic Suite Rooms 1 & 2 and LINk doing a drop-in for people to respond to the consultation document - also in the Civic Suite but in the Upper Foyer from 10am to 4pm.

There will also be available envelopes pre-labelled with the Freepost address for anyone you know without web access who wants to write in with their views.

Anonymous said...

Just Googled it, as advised.

Full of newspaper summaries and sound bites. Google is rubbish for this sort of thing.

Apparently there is some sort of report due soon.

Here is a draft.

I would guess there are other reports and commentaries on the subject.

Apparently the NHS is quite a large budget surplus, which makes the economic austerity argument a bit confusing.

If anyone has examined this subject in detail and has a list of relevant links, that would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

No-one seems qualified or willing to put the clinical case either for or against on these pages. I'm sorry but statements such as 'every local community deserves a maternity unit' don't really cut it. I want the figures on outcomes, not some 'Well what I reckon' nonsense. This probably isn't the place to get it I now realise.

Btw, isn't it interesting now much less interest there is in this topic, measured by postings, compared to any posting about a restaurant. Says something about the readership of this blog I guess.

Brockley Nick said...


Well, if the quote from the doctor in the article wasn't enough evidence that the A&E closure could increase mortality rates, here's a study for you:

"Jon Nicholl, Professor of Health Services Research at Sheffield University, co-wrote a four-year study of more than 10,000 ‘Category A’ emergency cases.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, found that longer A&E journeys led to ‘an increased risk of death’.

"Prof Nicholl, the former deputy chairman of the Medical Research Council’s Health Services and Public Health Research Board, found that overall, each extra 10km (6.2 miles) travelled to A&E will increase the proportion of patients who die by 20 per cent.

"It concluded: ‘Closing local emergency departments could result in an increase in mortality for... patients with life-threatening emergencies, who have to travel further as a result.’"

Also, the number of comments in response to an article is not necessarily a good indicator of how strongly people feel about a subject:

1. In this case, there have been many articles on this topic in a short space of time. Cumulatively, the number of comments is huge.

2. Lots of subjects go off-topic - most of the really long comment trails are because of some argument or other, often with little or nothing to do with the original post.

3. Lots of articles don't require comments. Loads of people read and tweeted about the netball article. But who needs to debate or comment on it?

Still, carry on being a churl if you like.

Brockley Nick said...

Total of seven articles on this topic: (67+39+18+17+16+36+36) 229 Comments (not counting this one).

Welcome to 2012 said...

Everything leads to an increase in death. Not having a hospital on your street corner leads to an increase in death. Should we have a hospital on every street? Paid for out of Labour's bottomless pit, presumably?

max said...

Only that Hospitals and services are spaced apart according to a logic and data, not one on each corner.

Lewisham hospital serves a quarter of a million people and that's a rather typical catchment.

All hosditals around here work at full capacity so if that's not improved at a cost that would be comparable to keeping the same services here then yes you'd have a significant increase in avoidable deaths.

Brockley Nick said...

No Welcome. We should have a sensible balance.

Many people are arguing that one A&E department for three quarters of a million people, located in Woolwich is not a sensible balance, especially when that A&E department is considerably worse than the existing and recently-refurbished Lewisham A&E.

Do you think closing a new and well-run A&E is good use of public funds and do you think that 1 A&E per 750,000 people is sufficient?

Anonymous said...

glad to see you've finally come out in support of PFI Nick

Anonymous said...

How many of the commentators on here are going to the meeting tomorrow? Lou Baker?

Anonymous said...

There was a pretty good meeting in St Andrews yesterday - a lot of angry people - I'd urge people to go to one or more of the consultation meetings - the protest against closure from lewisham residents attending is 100% - if you're in favour of closure go along and stand up and speak in favour of it - see what you get!

Anonymous said...

A week ago I sent an email to Jeremy Hunt, and today I received a reply. This is the final sentence : "The application of the unsustainable NHS provider regime for South London Healthcare NHS Trust (Queen Elizabeth Woolwich) is about ensuring local people of south east London can have access to sustainable and high-quality services." Could anyone translate that for me?

Anonymous said...

If some of you would care to read the draft report, which examines the issue in detail, the discussion might be better informed.

Many people are concerned about A&E without really understanding the type of work it does and who uses it. Relying on their personal experience to inform them and imaging that every case is a dire emergency. I guess we are addicted to the heroic dramas we see on TV.

I guess the way in which this public health service is managed and the provision of services is altogether too complicated for the public to understand.

If you look at the report, it discussed all manner of trusts and hospital services across south London and how they fit together to provide a service. It also examines how they are organised and assesses their performance. It contains direct references to Lewisham Hospital and the services it provides.

I am not seeing any diligent analysis of this report, in the press and least of all here.

All this argument about PPI, for instance, is totally misleading. The problem of excess costs associated with this is recognised and will be covered by central funding. But people are suggesting that the whole crisis is caused by this.

It covers the problems at the other hospitals in South London and why are in financial difficulties. It looks very much like the problems of any large corporation when part of it goes wrong and this is a remedial action to put it right.

The provision of services seems to be peoples main concern and there seems to be an assumption that important services, on which people depend will be closed down.

That is a gross over simplification and people seem to have little idea about how the health system deals with everything from emergencies to routine treatments.

I guess we pick this up from the medical dramas.

If you are interested in this issue, it requires some work to understand the details. I would have thought we might have had some section of the press look in detail at this and provide some informed comment.

Better still, some part of the health service to explain what is going on in simpler terms.

Where is that?

We seem to have a great gulf between the deliberations of public health organisation and the understanding of the public who use the services.

If I was paranoid, I would imagine that there are some vested interests within the health service in South London that are happy to cause a panic reaction amongst the public. Certainly, all is not well with the management of some of the large hospitals.

Sad and tired said...

The scary thing is the accuracy of the sentence in reflecting the brick-wall double-thinking incoherance we are up against. It also kind of reminds me of my toddler singing and walking off when I ask him to do something he doesn't want to engage with.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - Your call for diligent analysis might be more persuasive, if your own analysis included some quotes or stats from the report you complain none of us have read.

"The provision of services seems to be peoples main concern and there seems to be an assumption that important services, on which people depend will be closed down. That is a gross over simplification and people seem to have little idea about how the health system deals with everything from emergencies to routine treatments."

This is just a rather long-winded way of saying that everyone will have to go elsewhere for their treatment.

They are proposing to close a facility that people use. Closing it will be extremely inconvenient for a huge number of people (faced with longer journeys, longer waiting times and uncertainty over what problems can be treated where. In very rare cases, people may die as a result of being further from an A&E unit.

Now, there is a Cost-Benefit Analysis to be done with any decision like this: Is that cost justified by the savings made to a finite healthcare budget? That is a valid question.

But please don't insult our intelligence by pretending that there is no cost and that we are all just fans of Holby City for thinking otherwise.

Let's have some facts from you.

Ladywell1 said...

Lou Baker - why don't you cough up to subsidise Lewisham A&E. The private doctors that you use can refund the cost of their training to the state. Why should we subside the cost of private doctors' training - I know that you would be against the state subsidising anything. It's the age of austerity - these things need to be paid for...

kolp said...

The fact that few can speak with any authority shows the FAILURE of this 'consultation' process. Why should people have to plough through 87 pages of management speak especially at this busy time of the year- the run up to Christmas to try and understand the TSA's thinking about their local medical services.

To my mind if a government department- is coming to take a service away, a service that is solvent, newly refurbished then they had damn well better able to explain themselves clearly to the people affected.

Lou Baker said...


Calm down dear. You'll give yourself a heart attack and then you'll have to go all the way to Woolwich so you can die in an NHS hospital there instead.

If you ever read anything I've written about the NHS you'll see I support the basic principle behind it. The health service should be (largely) free at the point of delivery. I add the largely bit because I believe the NHS shouldn't treat lifestyle related conditions until the underlying causes are dealt with.

Where I differ from you is that I believe the NHS is not nearly so good as it should be, when you consider the massive resources it gets. I think it is scandalous, for example, that you have waiting list targets counted in weeks. If someone is sick they should be treated in days. Delaying treatment has significant cost implications elsewhere so is bad all round.

But I also believe a massive part of the problems the NHS has are down to patients. People abusing the system. A massive percentage of people in A&E shouldn't be there at all. We all know it, no one dares say.

We have these massive, expensive to run, district general type hospitals everywhere. We all know that is how medicine worked in the 50s whereas now much of the treatment can be done in a day in smaller community facilities. We all know prescription drugs should be taken sparingly - but they're dished out in massive quantities and a vast number go to waste.

So yes, I think the NHS is a miserable shadow of what it should be. I think change is needed. I think patients need to take more responsibility, I think big hospitals should be closed, I think lifestyle related conditions should be excluded from treatment until the underlying problem is dealt with.

I understand you back the campaign to preserve NHS mediocrity. It's a bandwagon so naturally you join the likes of Tamsin and Max on it. People die while they protest - I think that's wrong. You obviously don't which makes you morally bankrupt.

max said...

Hot air.

A&E is not a 50's thing, neither is Maternity.

Removing maternity will not decrease pregnacies.
The same 5000 women will have to be catered elsewhere at roughly the same cost.

Lewisham A&E receives about 120,000 people a year, closing it means that instead of having an accessible local facility you'll have a lot of people calling the ambulance instead of going there using their own means and this will cost again.

But they'll get to sell the Hospital site, and sack a few people. Some progress.

Regarding the PFI contract. It's £69m a year and it has been recognized that over the lifetime of the contract it'll end up repaying the capital at a possibly illegal rate.
That will keep on being serviced.
Some good use of public money.

If that was renogotiated possibly this whole thing would be completely unneccessary.
SLUH loses £1m a week. That's £1 for every person it serves each week.
£1m sounds a lot, £1 sounds a lot less.

Here's what the report tells us about the pfi:

"An analysis has been undertaken to review the costs of the PFI contracts and their impact on the Trust's financial position. The details of this review will be submitted to the Secretary of State in January 2013, as part of the delivery of a final report. This information will remain confidential due to commercial sensitivities."

A big fat nothing.

Lou Baker said...

But it's not £1 per person is it. A large number of those will be kids - who don't pay tax. Or pensioners or unemployed or earn below the threshold. So, actually, for the taxpayers who make a net contribution it's probably £4 a week - £200 per year. But then it's not just the hospital is it? Because you want another few quid a week for the library and the kids playcentre and all the other guff you think is unreformable.

I doubt, Max, that you are a net contributor. You probably get more back from the state than you put in. You want other people to provide all this stuff. This thing here is only a few pounds, that thing there is just a few - trouble is they're not your pounds.

Anonymous said...

The more I read the flawed 'what I reckon' activist reasoning of people like Max, and compare it to considered responses such as Anon 12.48, the more I think these proposals might have some merit. People ask for reasoned analysis and are met with nothing but more empty assertion, or more back of a fag packet calculations, and inexpert hot air. Local convenience is a factor here of course, but it shouldn't be allow to trump all other considerations, which is what I think it is doing in the minds of a lot of posters.

max said...

I'm a 40% income tax payer, and I'd much rather my taxes pay for doctors and nurses than for interests on pfi.

max said...

@ Anon 16:04.

First I don't say things like "what I reckon".
And neither I smoke so I don't write on the back of fag packets.

Third point, if you're complaining about an excess of hot air and lack of expert number-crunching and can't come up with some rigorous number-crunching at least don't add to the hot with another helping from yourself.

Mezzer said...

Only Lou Baker would call the local A & E a "local convenience". Your private health insurance won't help your family member should they ever need emergency care and have to travel well over half an hour longer to reach life saving help. And before you generalise, I have private health care too.

Anonymous said...

Here is what the report recommends regarding PFI

'On an annual basis until the relevant contracts end, the Department of Health should provide additional funds to the local NHS to cover the excess costs of the PFI buildings at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Princess Royal University Hospital.'

Recommendation 122/IV

So there you go, this official report recommends that central government picks up these excess costs.
The NHS is also running £1.5B below it budget, so this can be fixed at a national level.

Yet many comments have we had on here associating PFI and Bankers with this Closure issue?

The problems with the big hospital trusts are nothing more than a history of shoddy management.

@Brockley Nick

If you read the report, you will see it presents a breakdown of the use of A&E at Lewisham.

Look at section 176, the effects of the proposals on the residents of Lewisham. It has some interesting local statistics about the numbers of people attending A&E by ambulance and their journey times.

The generalised academic study you found from Sheffield is far less relevant.

I've looked through the report and it seemed to be quite exhaustive and it is easy to get lost in the NHS jargon and structural terms if you are unfamiliar with them.

Does anyone know where I can find a decent interpretation that summarises it all in a dispassionate and unpartisan manner?

The comments from the various political hacks around here are predictable and tedious. It is quite clear that they have little understanding of what is going on and are just using the issue to grind the same old axes.

Anonymous said...

Here is a summary of the draft report.

max said...

@ Anon 16:48

I'm sorry, I really don't share your contentment about the way this pfi is dealt with.

It really looks like this PFI is right now being allowed to sink SLHT taking UHL down with it and then when this happens it will still be paid by us taxpayers.

What so good about this?

Reguarding section 176 and ambulance times, first of all those traveling times don't consider the impact of peak time traffic but only give one flat traveling time for each mode of transport and we all know that the road network of South East London out of Lewisham both towards Greenwich for QEH and Denmark Hill for Kings suffer from extreme congestion at peak times bringing it regularly to a standstill.
This is a major flaw of the report.

Second point, it doesn't consider the increase in ambulance calls that the closure of Lewisham A&E would generate. So either they'll invest in extra ambulances (A&Es on wheels) or increase response times.

Anonymous said...

The report says

'Access to emergency services

170. Ensuring fast and effective emergency and urgent care is essential for patients.The work already completed across London has made significant improvements to the services provided for patients needing emergency care for major traumas, strokes, heart attacks and vascular emergencies. The way these services are provided is not impacted by the draft recommendations.
Patients will continue to be taken to the most appropriate location by the London Ambulance Service, based on agreed London-wide protocols.'

Lewisham get only three 'blue lamp' ambulances a day. Sounds as if the 'high drama' we normally associate with A&E is already being dealt with in an efficient manner by other specialist centres.

I think the distinction between urgent care and emergency as lost on the general public where the appropriate teams are ready.

Yet we led to believe that the proposed change of status will lead to more people dying in ambulances because of delays?

I think people are being deliberately misled by some of the comments here.

Anonymous said...

its got nothing to do with the various hospital services that are being affected by all this - the bottom line is that the service is being restructured to pay the interest on the PFI - this is being obfuscated by various NHS HR suits who want to restructure anyway and they're using it a convenient scapegoat that they know the general public will latch on to as 'hate figure' and keep the heat off themselves.

max said...

@ anon 17:57

The fact that in plain talk Urgency and Emergency have similar meaning similar doesn't mean that people debating here doesn't understand the difference in the context of this report.

It's a few weeks now since we first read the report and took stock of the fact that Lewisham is supposed to lose its "fully admitting A&E" and remain with a "non admitting Urgent Care".

The "admitting" bit is the important one.

If people have an A&E in easy reach they'll mostly go there using their own means in case of an emergency.

If they haven't it means that some of them will be forced to call an ambulance instead, and this is extra burden.

There may be only 3 blue light ambulances a day in Lewisham but there are also 315 people being admitted at A&E and of these 79 arrive in ambulance without blue lights. Still ambulance use, isn't it?
And now they'll have to go further and travel back again.

And of those 239 that currently don't go there by ambulance a proportion is bound to call for one instead of making their own way because of the increase distance.

The report doesn't deal with this at all.

This is a lot of extra journeys that are entirely predictable but this report doesn't deal with whotsoever.

And on top of this its travelling times estimate are inadequate as they are just a notional easy ride kind of journey, nothing like peak time traffic that frankly is a twice daily occurance.

Anonymous said...

I despair at some of the comments here. The report is available online to read. You can fill in the associated consultation document.

Or you could go to the meeting tomorrow night at the town hall and question the speakers yourselves so you can come to your own informed opinion without resorting to rubbishing people that don't support the proposals.

If the A&E is downgraded, the maternity and ITU and paediatric units will have to be similarly downgraded or closed because they rely on the back-up provided by the A&E. 60% of the site will be sold off to a developer, which means at a later date the hospital won't have the space to expand. And 3 London Boroughs will share Queen Elizabeth's A&E.

max said...

For those asking for clinical analysis, number crunching and all that read this:

Welcome to 2012 said...

Just for the record, the impostor calling himself Welcome to 2012 is not me, I've been using the name all year. Oh well, serves me right for not logging on to post.

Tamsin said...

Admirable summary Anon 19.07

But do come to the Broadway Theatre(not the Town Hall - you will end up in a full Council meeting if you do that - dire!). And as mentioned in my earlier post on this thread - be prepared to queue and possibly be redirected to St Laurence Church, or even turned away if that venue fills up as well.

Both meetings will be addressed by most of the speakers - close enough to do the half time swap again - and they plan to film/record and so presumably those who don't get in will be able to view the meetings later on-line and make comments on a blog at that point.

This is not ideal but the organisers can have now idea of how many people will respond and can only do their best in the circumstances.

nic said...

Heather Turner (a member of Sanford Housing Co-operative) has a report on the Lewisham A&E closure on her blog :

Tressilliana said...

Very interesting and fact-packed article about Lewisham A&E in the latest issue of Private Eye. Likely to turn up here in the near future, I think:

Mezzer said...

"Last month, more than 2,000 people marched in the area to protest against the plans."


Tamsin said...

They are just being lazy and referring back to their own stories rather than checking the facts again.

Eight thousand people going into Ladywell Park according to the senior police officer on duty there at the pinch point where a reasonable estimate of the numbers per minute could be made. So 10,000 would be a safe figure to go on, given that not all would have gone into the park, some would have come into the park direct to the rally and 15,000 going down the High Street was an off the top of the head figure given to organisers by the traffic control people.

What is really significant about these figures is that it was in the teeth of an appalling weather forecast, heavy rain and wind. But nevertheless this number of people turned out prepared to be soaked to the skin. In fact it was just a bit of rain and only your coat got wet.

max said...

The really important thing is that people now reply to the consultation.

People get answering to save Lewisham Hospital! There's less than a week left.

But before answering read the guide to answering including the in depth guide linked at the bottom of this page .

max said...

BTW, BBC not just sloppy by sticking to the wrong figure but twice sloppy by not mentioning the number of signatures on the petition.
"A petition" is really not good enough.
According to Heidi Alexander MP there are 40,000 signatures, a figure that's surely newsworthy.

Tamsin said...

For those of you with neighbours or relatives who want to respond, it is a bit too late to use the Freepost address (slower than second class) but if they can be got to the Lewisham Pensioners Forum, The Saville Centre, 436 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6LJ by Wednesday evening they are going to be gathered up and taken over to Harrow by courier. (The Forum has its own letterbox to the right of the porch if you are hand delivering.)

We also have a supply of posters (the Don't Keep Calm Get Angry ones), t-shirts, lapel stickers and leaflets. Just phone 020 8690 7869 first to check someone will be in.

Anonymous said...

Now in The Telegraph:

Tamsin said...

And the handing in of the Petition - 32,100 has now been given as the number - featured in the ITN Local News earlier.

Vigil and low key protest planned for Thursday to mark the end of the consultation - check the website or look out for leaflets.

Tamsin said...

Plans for this evening's (very cold, but hopefully dry) vigil outside the Hospital:

Generally we expect people to be coming and going throughout the 4 - 7 p.m. period - as it fits in with their day.

4 p.m. is when school children will be gathering with home-made placards & tea lights etc. supplemented by lanterns already made by campaigners - and do bring what you can.

4.30 Childen will be taught "Who do you think you are kidding Mr Kershaw" (from song sheet distributed on the Dem. of 24th.) - and they will perform it around 4.45'ish

5p.m. A count down takes place before we release 120 lanterns into the sky - it takes 2 adults per lantern to light & release - Note: we've checked with Env Health and subject to wind behaving, all is just fine.

5.15 Five year old Emily will sing the carol she wrote - to the tune of Jingle Bells -

5.30 Les Zoing - street-artists instrumental band - also from demo, will perform.

6.00'ish Strawberry Thieves & communal singing from song sheets from demo agin - first 5 songs - all well known tunes and easy to fit words to music.

6.30'ish Another countdown, before the Ceremonial burning of copies of Kershaw's report on a brazier - by a group of 5-6 people who reflect the population of Lewisham as a whole.

7.p.m. Stand and chat, or wend away.

Tamsin said...

No Chinese Lanterns - the CAA withdrew (or maybe it was didn't grant) permission and the singing was sporadic, but it was a good event. Really notable the sheer number of passing cars etc. that hooted in support - nearly all of them.

Les Zoing were splendid and there was a guy with some spontaneous break-dancing on the near frozen ground. Amazing.

I gather they did't waste a copy of the report by burning it (the full 450+ page document is quite hard to come by) but used some of the A4 consultation booklets and forms that had been requested weeks ago but delivered (in nine boxes!) by the TSA on Tuesday - after it was too late to use the Freepost envelope that had kindly been included with each one.

If anyone wants posters (A3 or A4 to put up in your windows), badges, lapel stickers or t-shirts etc. to keep things in the public eye while we wait for the submission of the report in January and Hunt's decision in February do come by the information stand in Telegraph Hill Farmers Market on Saturday - and I think someone will be around in Depford too.

And you can listen to the Deptford based Resonance FM on 104.4FM for a report - Sundays 2pm to 3pm and Fridays 1pm to 2pm

Annhatch said...

What has Lewisham council has to say have they got plans to sell the the land to private investors.

Brockley Nick said...

They are firmly against the closure and were urging people to join the march yesterday. Can you point me to a link which says that as a result of this planned closure, any land will become available for sale?

Tamsin said...

Bullock and the Council were dead set against the TSA's proposals from the outset - see the LBL press release issued within hours of the publication of the draft report.  The social work team are building up a good relationship with UHL in creating the care packages for patients for when they return home.  They can hardly work with the same facility across borough boundaries with Kings or the Queen Elizabeth.  If the the Secretary of State accepts the TSA's report in its entirety the Council are seriously considering judicial review based on the TSA having exceeded his legal remit and the fundamental flaws in the alleged consultation - a disaster though it is having public bodies suing each other, enriching only the lawyers.

But, you're right, there is land to be sold off and buried on about page 325 of 375 pages of appendix to the Report is the TSA's "Estate Consolidation" proposal which shows the front two-thirds of the hospital site as potentially to be sold off.  But this would be owned by (and so to the benefit of) the reconfigured NHS Trust, not the local authority. 

Saw all three Telegraph Hill Ward Councillors on the march - presumably Brockley and Ladywell were there too.

Tamsin said...

Just to add that I was told this morning that Steve Bullock joined in the March.  He was chatting for a while to the banner carriers from Lewisham Pensioners Forum

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