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?


David J said...


Robert said...

Good article in New Statesman yesterday:

The last paragraph is particularly depressing:
"For many, this is a political decision. Lewisham is a poor area and as
one doctor put it, “There is very little to lose when everyone votes
Labour here anyway”. The alternative is to close hospitals in
Conservative-held areas like Kent, and MPs like Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Gayling and Julian Lewis have already proven that even Tories can’t justify closures in their own backyard."

I wonder if there is anything in that?

anonymouse said...

 Thanks for that, what a depressing article.

Max Calò said...

One could think that, but it seems that in terms of cash savings any saving will only come to fruition in 10 years time after the £195m upfront cost of the reorganization has been absorbed, so one cannot really see such urgency of closing an hospital that if Lewisham is spared than it'll have to be another one.

Jim Connell said...

The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu was not chosen randomly.  Surely you know, Nick, that he is one of the few people who have been awarded Freedom of the London Borough of Lewisham, so he did once live and work in this area and still has a great attachment for the area.  Good to have his support! 

CB said...

Check out the mother and baby protest against the maternity and A&E closures at the DoH today - was on lunchtime news (BBC and ITV) - hope it'll be on the evening news too...

Tamsin said...

Actually - the snowman on the corner of Adelaide Avenue and Montague Avenue will shortly be carrying a placard advertising it.  We will have asked him nicely and I hope the builder won't mind either.  (Although possibly it would be better not to recruit his friends who featured in Dr. Who at Christmas.)

Raymondpeters961 said...

if in David Camerons words the NHS is safe in this coalition governments hands then he should orer MR Jeremy HUNT to save Lewisham Hospital and
close either PRINCESS ROYAL OR QUEEN MARYS SIDCUP as these are in the
area that is LOOSING MONEY also they will not shut woolwich as this is near
an army barracks. Also what has Boris Johnson got to say as he is the Mayor of
Ray of Downham

Mezzer said...

Good Guardian article yesterday:

BarCar said...

Tutu opened the Riverside Wing at Lewisham Hospital in 2007 and has strong south London connections going back many years. I think it's fair to say his association is not random.

Paul Astles said...

Of course there is

Tamsin said...

A reminder to come on the march - it'll be headed up by the drummers and dancers from the Olympics Opening Ceremony.  And the weather forecast isn't too bad.

Annhatch said...

What is planned for the site when they close a.e

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