Save Lewisham A&E

Lewisham Hospital's A&E department is threatened with being downgraded to a non-admitting urgent care centre following a review of healthcare provision in South London, which has also recommended a number of other cuts to the services offered by the hospital. Click here for details.

A campaign has been launched to save it from closure and a meeting will take place this Thursday, to discuss next steps.  
In the meantime, you can sign the petition here.

The designated alternative to Lewisham A&E would be the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by Woolwich Common, which is already overcrowded and hopelessly hard to reach for anyone without a car. The campaigners point out that Lewisham's closure would leave a population of 750,000 with just one A&E department between them and would mean mothballing an A&E department that underwent a costly refurbishment earlier this year.

The review was ordered after a Trust of three hospitals accumulated debts of £150m between them. Lewisham was not one of these hospitals, but faces the most severe cuts as a result. Some argue that because Lewisham was not part of the Trust that incurred unsustainable levels of debt, its residents should be  insulated from any cuts. BC doesn't subscribe to that view - such cuts as are necessary (and there is a good argument to suggest that central government should do more to protect front-line services in this case) should be administered to minimise harm to South East London residents as a whole. It's not the fault of Greenwich, Bexley or Bromley residents that their hospital managers messed up.

The whole mess illustrates the problems of a decentralised system - Trusts cannot truly be held accountable for their bad decisions, because healthcare is too important to allow hospitals to go to the wall.


Anonymous said...

"Trusts cannot truly be held accountable for their bad decisions, because healthcare is too important to allow hospitals to go to the wall."

Ah, a Labour voter.

Brockley Nick said...

"Ah, a Labour voter."

Erm, it's less a political opinion than a statement of political fact. Clearly, the administrator, appointed by a Tory government, has been trying to find a way to keep three hospitals afloat, by sharing the pain across other hospitals.

The logic of the Trust system is that hospitals should be accountable for their own decisions. This shows that governments aren't willing to let them go to the wall.

AliP said...

I hope Anon, or his/her children, don't require emergency medical care if this goes ahead, because one Queen Mary's is full, the next stop is Dartford. Let's hope you survive that long in rush-hour.

AliP said...

* once

Anonymous said...

Queen marys was closed down, for the same reason they want to shut lewisham. It'd be princess royal, farnborough

Anonymous said...

If we assume that the 'debt' owed by the SE London hospitals is a debt to the various private industries who stumped up the money (probably construction companies, Banks, other large corporates etc) - then it is a curious twist of logic that to fund the shareholders profit demands public services should be axed.

I once had to drive my wife to Lewisham Hospital as a result of a severe reaction to a bee sting - an ambulance almost certainly wouldn't have reached us in time - and she would have died because of a specific financial initiative created by a Labour government.

Please let Heidi Alexander and Steve Bullock know this at any meeting they attend.

Tamsin said...

"Clearly, the administrator, appointed by a Tory government, has been trying to find a way to keep three hospitals afloat, by sharing the pain across other hospitals."

Or - as perceived by some - chopping their functions up into discrete bits that can be tendered out to private companies, per Langsley's plans formulated even before the last election.

The changes made by the Health and Social Care Bill were first promolgated by the Tories on ideological grounds - the alleged money saving element was promoted later after the credit crunch.

And before I get screamed at from all sides, bear in mind the aphorism that just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean that they are not out to get you.

Unknown said...

Rather than travelling to deepest Kent, why wouldnt drive into Kings? It's surely only a matter of time before Nick adopts Camberwell as Western Brockley.

More seriously, Nick is right - it's simply a lie to suggest that trusts are accountable for their own bad decisions and it will be just as true when they are private companies. When things are going well = pull in the profits. When things go badly = socialise the losses. It's a rigged game and the taxpayer is the chump. And what's worse, the government knows this, knows we know it and just don't care.

Unknown said...

I used to work in Lewisham A&E (as a doctor). It functioned in a similar capacity to an Urgent care centre (only it was 24 hour access). Most patients were minors, all major trauma was diverted directly to Kings, all acute major heart attacks went directly to Kings, paeds has a separate A&E..we treated acute emergencies, which would be treated in the same way at an urgent care centre. As long as the unit is staffed adequately, I don't think the majority of people will notice the difference.

max said...

Well, people would notice the lack of admission, that's a big one. The big feature is that you'll be seen by a doctor (or nurse actually if it's really minor).

And the proposal includes an end to both A&E and inpatient pediatric surgery. I think that given this it's fair to assume that probably children A&E is going as well, it's not specified but it kind of goes with the package.

Tamsin said...

should read before I post..
"and so an alternative..."

Tamsin said...

This meeting organisation is coming together nicely.

There are concerns, however, that more might turn up than can be accommodated in the Lessof Auditorium in UHL, so an overspill venue has been hired - the Calabash Centre in George Lane - only five minutes walk away. The event will be run like a two ring circus, with the speakers swapping over during the the twenty minutes or so open discussion time scheduled for the middle of the evening, so that both audiences can hear from all of them.

Tressilliana said...

Sign the petitions:
Petition set up by Heidi Alexander MP
Petition to HM Government :

Thursday 8th November, 6-8pm at Lessoff Auditorium, Lewisham Hospital
Public meeting: Speakers include Jim Dowd MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Steve Bullock Mayor of Lewisham, Dr Louise Irvine (Lewisham GP and BMA council member).

Tuesday 13th November 7pm, Waldron Health Centre
Local Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) meeting
Contact the Lewisham group: Helmut Heib & Dr Louise Irvine
On Twitter

Saturday 24th November
Link Hands Around Our Hospital
2pm March from Loampit Vale roundabout to Lewisham hospital
3pm Link hands around Lewisham Hospital

Tressilliana said...

Sorry, meant to say these details have been sent out by the Brockley Society.

Tamsin said...

There are also the formal consultation events - about a dozen over the whole Greenwich, Lewisham, Bexley, Orpington area - but the local ones are:
There are also a series of consultation events throughout South East London and the ones in Lewisham are:
Friday, 16 November 10am to 12noon in Goldsmiths College, New Cross, SE14 6NW
Monday, 26 November 2pm to 4pm in St. Andrew’s Centre, the corner of Wickham and Brockley Roads, London, SE4 2SA
Tuesday, 4 December 7pm to 9pm Calabash Day Centre, 26 George Lane, London, SE13 6HH.

I suppose a strategy might be to go along to the meeting tomorrow - to hear the speakers (with or without salt) to inform yourself - then, if you can, go to one of these sessions.

There are also other ways (e-mail, twitter etc.) to feed back your views detailed on the Consultation Poster that can be downloaded here and even a postal address:
Freepost Plus RSHB-CGKA-RYHK, TSA Consultaiton, Ipsos MORI Research Services Hous, Elmgrove Road, Harrow, HA1 2QG

Tamsin said...

Sorry - a bit of sloppy cutting and pasting, but having done it twice because the link didn't work first time, I'm leaving it...

Anonymous said...

'So long as the unit is staffed adequately, I don't think the majority of people will notice the difference.'

Lewisham will lose urgent care and only day cases and minor injuries not requiring admission will be seen. I think I can assure you that we will notice. In addition, excellent staff will leave Lewisham in droves.

kolp said...

I will be at the meeting tonight. This is one of the most important issues in borough for years.

The proposal unprecendented step for the NHS. Lewisham and the SLH are at the forefront.

The process is brutal; radical decisions made in a rapid timeframe, by statute. No grounds appeal once the secretary of state has ruled. The government is not messing around.

We have to argue our case to the Administrator BEFORE it gets to the next stage...

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