Save Lewisham Hospital - One More March [UPDATED]

If he knew about it, Big Bird would almost certainly join Tutu's call for Lewisham A&E to be saved

Campaign group "Save Lewisham Hospital" is organising one more march this Saturday, against the recommended closure of Lewisham's A&E department and other facilities. They say:

The decision on the future of Lewisham A&E is due at the start of February. We must keep up the pressure.

JOIN THE DEMO on SATURDAY 26th JANUARY to show Jeremy Hunt what we think of the proposals to close Lewisham Hospital A&E, Intensive Care and some children and maternity services!

ASSEMBLE Lewisham Roundabout (by the station) at 12 noon on Saturday 26th January. March past our hospital to Mountsfield Park for rally, music and giant petition.

The campaign has attracted national attention, most dramatically on BBC One's Question Time. Rather randomly, they've also managed to get Desmond Tutu to condemn the plans, but since he also turned out for the legendarily bizarre Qualcomm keynote address, we're not sure how much weight his views on South East London healthcare provision carry in Whitehall.

More promisingly, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham is arguing that:

Lewisham Hospital is outside the purview of the TSA terms of reference and I am clear that the powers associated with the Failure Regime policy were not intended to be used to encompass service changes in other hospitals and allow back-door reconfigurations of services without proper public consultation... and [the plan for Lewisham Hospital] should be stopped.

The last march drew thousands despite the cold and rain - this weekend, perhaps the Brockley snowmen will swell the ranks.

UPDATE: BCers have pointed out a very good article about the issue by Lewisham Hospital-born Rowenna Davis in The New Statesman. Amongst a lot of very well-made points, she argues:

If this move made economic sense, perhaps he would have a point. But the Guardian has reported that Kershaw’s proposals would cost £195m to implement, and only deliver £19.5m savings a year. At a time when Lewisham has just invested millions in services that are doing well, this seems wasteful. If you have to close a hospital, why close the one that is doing best?