Rivoli Fundraiser for the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign

Iain writes:

The last fundraiser sold out and we were turning people away at the door. Obviously, we were all still high from the victory in the high court, but I think the last year has shown how important it is that we continue, which means we need funds.

The trust has to make 5% 'savings' every year for the next 5 years (25% over 5 years) and the local CCGs have coalesced to work on a south east London plan. It is likely that Lewisham hospital's services and land will be recommended as a sacrifice to the cuts and PFI liabilities... Again...


spock said...

The PFI liabilities were always the chief enemy of the Hospitals in SE London - but, and I have this on good opinion, that apart from a small group of activists within the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign (who were later ostracised for their views) this was generally ignored and/or suppressed by the SLHC (because by this time it had become clear that the Campaign was being taken over by the Labour Party).

I would also like to know why the SLHC are continuing to raise funds and what these funds are being used for? If, for example, the funds are being syphoned off to groups that have a political agenda, such as the party that the Chairperson is a member of (the National Health Action Party), then I think this should be made crystal clear.

Iain said...

There are two details you are wrong on here. Firstly, The Save Lewisham Hospital campaign is, has always been, and always will be against PFI. We have opposed it at almost every opportunity, every action, every piece of correspondence mentions the illegitimate and immoral PFI. It should be written off. Secondly, the campaign hasn't been taken over by the labour party. Not that it matters what party someone is in, but the steering committee features people from about a half dozen parties, and you could count the labour members on 1 hand. Most people aren't in a party.

The claim you make has been doing the rounds for a while, and has been created by people who are desperate to dislodge labour in the local council elections. That's fair enough, but this propaganda damages any attempt to build an inclusive, united campaign, which is needed (and was successful).

Nick, reasonably, abridged my email to him about what we have been up to. We spearheaded the campaign against the hospital closure clause, we supported the NHS Jarrow march, we took action against a conference which Jeremy hunt was at, we organised an overflowing public meeting in Charlton, lobbied at party conferences, opposed the local trust outsourcing procurement to G4S, conducted a massive piece of work about community care needs and wants in Lewisham. We continue to support sacked NHS workers and other campaigns, support the NHS reinstatement bill and hold the CCG and hospital trust to account. And when NHS workers strike, we will support them too. Oh, and we will oppose the PFI.

So, no. We aren't siphoning money to any party. Rest assured, you ten pounds will be money well spent on a great night out in the jewel of Lewisham (which may be up for sale, so see it while you can). Check out our website www.savelewishamhospital.com and come to our next meeting. Just take part if you want to know more or make yourself useful.

spock said...

SLHC mentioned little about PFI in any of it's correspondence - even on it's own website it's mentioned only in passing, not as a core problem, it's ridiculous to say that "every piece of correspondence mentions the illegitimate and immoral PFI" because this simply isn't true.

Lewisham labour party used every opportunity to align itself with the SLHC for political gain - by saying in press releases that it was 'leading the campaign' for instance - by plastering the windows of an office they used in Lee High Road with campaign posters - by taking every opportunity to mount a public stage and profess their commitment, by saying, when canvassing for the recent council elections, that they were at the forefront of the campaign - if you don't see and understand the way that Lewisham labour manipulated the campaign you are being wilfully naive. Don't think that Bullock was providing council services or using council indemnity out of the goodness of his heart. He's a career politician and he knows exactly what he's doing - he jumped on the SLHC bandwagon with both feet. Cut out his Labour heart and you'll find at least one ventricle is occupied by conservative values.

And the less said about Joan Ruddock the better - she was part of Gordon Browns government and it was he who signed the PFI agreements for the SE london hospitals - I don't believe she's mentioned this, or apologised for it, whilst giving her support to the campaign.

One last thing - you haven't actually said how money raised is being spent - as far as I can see all the things you do can be done freely or at least very cheaply. I don't see any other local activist groups using the Rivoli purely for fund raising.

Newby said...

A political party align itsself with a movement which may lead to it gaining more votes? Kin 'ell!

Peter Tooke said...

There's a sort of 'Emperor's new clothes' thing when it comes to Lewisham Hospital and nobody dares step out of line. I live only 400 yards from Lewisham Hospital so of course it would be good if it remained there. However if the Hospital is closed and sold as part of a plan to improve health provision in SE London then I for one would support that. I would rather go to specialist units a bit further away (at Guys or St.Thomas' say) than fight on a matter of principle to retain services on my doorstep. I fear the people of Lewisham have been somewhat duped and Lewisham Hospital has become a 'sacred cow'. However the public sector has to evolve as society evolves and we cannot just hang onto the 'as is' because we fear change.

Iain said...

You have been 'somewhat duped' because the evidence supports keeping Lewisham Hospital's A&E, maternity, children's and acute services for reasons of safety. However, for cost reasons, politicians, administrators et al sought to select or manipulate research in order to con people into believing that a decent decent, district hospital is somehow unevolved.

Check out the Lewiswham People's Commission for hours of video evidence from eminent figures pointing this out:

Perhaps it depends on how you define an 'evolved society'. One that cares for the unwell? Or one that puts 'efficiency' first. Efficiently letting people die, to be blunt. (I don't like to put things like that, but let's not forget Sir Bruce Keogh's unfounded claim that closing the hospital would save 100 lives, and the TSA insisted people would die if things didn't change)

Peter Tooke said...

I guess we need to be sensible and marry the two (it's not an either/or choice after all) to best ensure that every penny of public money spent on the NHS is directed to delivering top quality healthcare (yes, and saving lives - of course!) - rather than on maintaining a network of buildings/services that may no longer best meet current needs.

Guesty said...

There's no delusion, most people who use Lewisham hospital know it's not perfect, but it was heading in the right direction, then the economic crash happened and along came a reason to not keep funding the NHS at the level it needs to be to meet rising demands. This and the Pfi demands of keeping QEH afloat, made for a perfect storm in the form of the special administrator to downgrade Lewisham hospital.

A hospital that had just had lots of money spent on it to improve to its maternity provision. Getting rid of the A&E - which is what the downgrade meant, would mean the slow motion dismantlement of all the emergency services in the hospital and maternity couldn't function.

Polly Toynbee wrote an interesting piece on our electoral system. A line that stood out, when considering why the special administrator Kershaw choose to downgrade Lewisham when he was given the task of reshuffling services in South London...

"Our democracy prides itself on probity: cheating is negligible. But the system itself is now so corrupt it warps everything. Marginals are plied with good things: no hospitals ever close in marginals, says the Electoral Reform Society."


Was the decision to downgrade Lewisham, a clinical decision? Who's being duped here?

Newby said...

Anyone who thinks that the NHS in its current form is viable as the population rapidly ages is being duped. Unless of course people will accept much much higher tax rates.

Guesty said...

The NHS has been and is always changing, the issue at the moment is the direction, privatisation, how will that work out, for a service like the NHS.

We're told to be fearful of the costs of the 'ageing population' but people, society adapts. Just looking around you can see so many people, older people as well as younger looking after themselves,running, ordering (abel & cole) veg hopefully eating it, there's a lot less smoking. You can see people trying to follow the healthly living advice given.

Diabetes is the other thing we're to be worried in terms of NHS costs. How about slapping a tax on food manufacturers who stuff their ready products with sugar & trans fats? Put the money into preventative medicine and health support.

As for Lewisham hospital should have more money spent on it not less to improve services, it's a growing borough.

Peter Tooke said...

There we go again. It's not necessarily Lewisham Hospital that needs more money spent on it, but rather health services for local residents (wherever those are most sensibly located so as best to deliver quality accessible service). Too much fixation with the site, not enough on the services.

Guesty said...

I've been to Lewisham Hospital recently, trust me it needs money. Money to update equipment and systems so clinics run more efficiently & people treated more quickly but one example.

It's not delusion nor fixation, we need our hospital and we need to be properly funded.

Iain said...

It's not an either/or, unless you are being duped by anti-NHS propaganda. (lest we forget it is the most cost-effective healthcare system studied by the commonwealth fund, with continually improving outcomes)

A decent, general hospital is a necessary part of the healthcare system. It is a health service for local residents, like you ask for. Closing and merging hospitals has been proven to have no effect on reducing hospital admissions. And what local services are you suggesting could take the place of Lewisham hospital? I'd love to know.

Tamsin said...

Just to say - two days to go and ticket sales have been good - but on-line sales close at midnight tonight - so waste no time getting your tickets. (Although there may be some returns on the door on the evening.)


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