Save Lewisham A&E campaign heads to high court

The three-day Judicial Review of Jeremy Hunt's plans to downgrade Lewisham Hospital begins today.

Lawyers from Leigh Day, on behalf of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, will argue that the decision to substantially cut some of Hospital’s services in three years’ time is unlawful and they will ask the Courts to quash it and ask the Secretary of State to reconsider.

The campaigners also point to a report published yesterday by Prof Allyson Pollock, professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary, University of London, which claims that the major closures, redundancies, sell-offs and service reconfigurations imposed on the hospital, and more widely across the South London Healthcare NHS Trust by the special administrator appointed by the secretary of state, do not serve patient interests whose needs, prof Pollack claims “…have been, at best, down-played and at worst ignored.”

Writing in the Guardian today, campaigner Shannon Hawthorne says:

As a resident of the south London borough of Lewisham, for me, today is a very significant day. After months of fundraising, protesting and petitioning, the community-led Save Lewisham hospital campaign is heading to the high court. The aim? To challenge plans to close the successful, solvent hospital's existing A&E, maternity, adults' and children's acute wards, and critical care unit, all to bail out a failing neighbouring NHS trust.

By approving the cuts at Lewisham, the health secretary sent out a clear message: any hospital, regardless of quality or financial solvency, can be subject to closures if it fits with the government's wider agenda.

Full article here.