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This was a fantastic, uplifting event – doctors, nurses, health workers, patients, people from the community, and campaigners, young and old,  joined together to expose Hunts shoddy and disgraceful statement.  Two great videos show the spirit and determination of the event.
Video from Shaun Dey Credit Reel News – http:/

Video from Stuart Monro


Thousands of people have marched, sung, signed petitions, braved the rain, written of their desperate concerns and joined together in a single community voice.
Today, Mr Hunt’s words seemed to have offered a partial reprieve of the A&E, he says to the benefit of the frail and elderly – which instead of an urgent care downgrade is to be reduced to a 25 bed facility. But look beneath the surface and very little has changed from the Kershaw recommendations.Dr Chidi Ejimofo, A&E Consultant said :
‘An A&E of the type described is little more than an Urgent Care Unit – patients will still have to be transported to other hospitals because we will no longer have acute provision here.’
Hunt quotes £36million will need to be spent on surrounding hospitals to compensate for the demolition which will still take place on the Lewisham site –which if the new A&E is to be retained will leave it stranded in midst of rubble and nowhere near the rest of the remaining hospital buildings. Does this mean yet another new, but smaller A&E will need to be built? Dr Louise Irvine, GP Chair of the Campaign said :
‘Hunt tells us that he has accepted the recommendations on the basis of ‘100 lives per annum saved’ but this is just a snapshot figure of a national assessment – not locally accurate in the context of the model proposed. As a GP I can state unequivocally that these proposals are going to cost lives.’Mothers whose labour runs into difficulty will be forced to endure a blue light ambulance trip to an unfamiliar hospital in the manner of decades past. We already know that we have mothers who are members of our campaign whose lives and whose babies would have been lost in these circumstances.Crucially, the Sir Bruce Keogh estimates of travel times immediately throws this in to doubt – another 1 – 3 minutes extra travel to Woolwich can only be achieved in a private jet or an emergency helicopter! Our campaign’s real time travel film shows that this is closer to 2 hours ( one way) than 2 minutes by public transport.Disastrously, the paediatric A&E is to be lost and thus the excellent childrens’ wards. Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Lead Paediatrician said
‘Mr Hunt stressed that this will involve careful handling and careful planning. This is politician’s cover for introducing these measures without any consultation with local paediatricians or the College of Paediatrics. He repeatedly said that these measures would improve standards.  The destruction of our exemplar childrens’ service is the not the way to do that and we will be addressing this at the earliest opportunity.’       Mr Hunt himself had set the four criteria for measuring his decision. Far from agreeing with Sir Bruce Keogh and thus Mr Hunt, we believe this to be the most accurate representation of the response :

  1. Support from GP commissioners    – opposed
  2. Strengthened public and patient engagement – only in opposition
  3. Clarity on the clinical evidence base – not present
  4. Consistency with current and prospective patient choice – reduced

 Not only did he make no mention of GP opinion in his speech, but seemed to rely upon Sir Bruce Keogh’s opinion rather than that of GPs and the public, as well as ignoring local clinicians. Patient choice also seems to have been thrown out of the window.

 Nor does the Hunt approved model offer a financially sustainable hospital because the Lewisham site will suffer from much reduced income through nothing more than elective surgery rental, while the PFI attached to the Woolwich site needs to be properly dealt with.

We leave the final statement with Dr John O’Donogue – Consultant Physician:
‘This is a travesty – a dangerous injustice. Taking a high performing hospital out of the heart and soul of our community is nothing short of vandalism’.

 One thing is for certain – the campaign does not end here.


 For further information please contact :
Jos Bell  0208 694 0121    07977 090972
Vicky Penner                                      0208 852 7673    077709 41337  

Remember and be proud!
If you haven’t looked already look at what we achieved on Saturday – a community united will not be defeated

Hunt’s lies
See the
video that trashes Hunt’s lie about ‘a couple of extra minutes’ journey. LEWISHAM HOSPITAL IS IN THE HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY. OLDER PEOPLE, PEOPLE WITH KIDS, PEOPLE WHO DON’T DRIVE can get there in a few minutes. It took Simone, on the video, 1 hour and 40 minutes on the bus.  

Statement from Lewisham NHS Healthcare Trust
We are disappointed today to hear that Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State, has accepted the proposal to downgrade A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital.  He has proposed Lewisham retains a smaller, limited 24/7 emergency department, and a stand-alone midwife-led birth centre. 

Clearly, we need more information on Jeremy Hunt’s proposals before commenting in detail.  The Trust Board response to the consultation was clear that we believe Lewisham needs full emergency and obstetric services.

“I would like to thank patients, local people, staff, GPs, MPs and partners for the support we have received.”


Hospital decision rides roughshod over community says Mayor
Published on 31 January 2013

Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock has reacted to the announcement of the Secretary of State on Lewisham Hospital and the South London Healthcare Trust.

“The Secretary of State is riding roughshod over the people of Lewisham,” Sir Steve said.

“These plans have been roundly rejected by local people, by the staff who work in the hospital and by local GPs. The Secretary of State has pressed ahead regardless by downgrading maternity services and emergency services at Lewisham Hospital. But let me be clear, this is not the end of the matter.

“I do not believe that the TSA had the statutory power to make recommendations about Lewisham Hospital and the Secretary of State therefore has no power to implement them.

“I will be talking to our lawyers and we will also of course need to talk to our colleagues at Lewisham Hospital in order to fully understand the implications of Mr Hunt’s statement.”

Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign
See here for news and pictures of petition hand-in yesterday

See here for how to buy the Save Lewisham Hospital single on itunes to raise funds for the campaign –  from the Lewisham rapper Question and the Lewisham NHS Choir. It’s a great rap with a good beat – we’re going need funds if we have to take on this government in the courts.


  1. Lani says:

    31st Jan…. The announcement is being made today… it is unclear to everyone I have spoken to whether to meet at Lewisham hospital today or as the website says, tomorrow?

    • admin says:

      Please see above Leni – we meeet today. Sorry been changing things all morning.

    • Michelle Smalley says:

      I also think it is time to make prople aware that it is not just A & E that will be affectected so will childrens services as well… Ward closures..

  2. Chris Wakefield says:

    So JH has ratted on us. What a surprise.

    His response to Joan Ruddock typical – ‘Not my fault, I’m clearing up your mess’. Yes, Jeremy – very grown up. Maybe you should look at bit harder at the health and community issues in Lewisham and put your political ambitions to one side for a moment.

    On the other hand if he prefers knockabout – it was Norman Lamont who came up with the superwheeze of PFI, and even he thought it was risky… This is what he said…

    The PFI is not a ‘free lunch’. For private finance to work properly it has to provide greater value and efficiency to make it worthwhile. The Government can always borrow money more cheaply than any private sector borrower, so the efficiency test for a private finance project has to be real. Secondly, it is an essential that the risk in the project really is wholly transferred to the private sector, otherwise privately financed public expenditure ought to count towards Government borrowing. Lastly, there is a risk that the private sector may provide finance up front but that the long-term consequences will be the silting-up of public expenditure with a stream of never-ending rental payments. I suspect that in the long run some of these projects will go wrong and appear again on the Government’s balance sheet, adding to public expenditure. We shall see.”

    Yes indeed, and now we ARE seeing – we see a well run NHS trust, mindful of Norman Lamont’s advice, caring efficiently for its community, but now trashed to save an ailing and badly run NHS trust next door. The reason? – look at the political map of London. Lewisham does not have much sympathy for Tory politics, and giving that community another good kicking will make no difference in 2015. I hope a legal challenge will shortly follow.

    The NHS is definitely not safe in David Cameron’s hands.

    • Max B says:

      Hear hear.

      Same politicised destruction of services here in Manchester.

      The country is in grave danger in David Cameron’s hands.

    • Fred Little says:

      Totally agree, except that the people covered by the neighbouring trust are going to be affected as well, as it places more strain on our local hospitals. It affects all South Londoners.

      This is one Tory voter now wishes he had the delorean at 88mph, so he could go back to his naive younger self and tell him where to put his x

    • Polly Wicks says:

      Hear Hear Chris Wakefield – I do hope that we can legally challenge (and win) to have this awful decision overturned. Whatever the outcome in the short term, we must fight on to expose the injustice, fallacies and sheer unfairness that Jeremy Hunt wants to impose on the people of Lewisham. Remember, this is just the test for the Government and shows their thinking on what they want to do to the NHS across the country. What happens in Lewisham has consequences for hospitals and services across the country. This is a matter of life and death for the people of Lewisham and for the NHS as we know it.

  3. catherine curran says:

    As a Lewisham resident I am speechless at the stupidity of this government attitude towards the NHS service. Cutting services & staff doesn’t serve any purpose, it creates added pressure to those who have to pick up the pieces, may be we should start cutting Government ministers who do not forfill the policy they promised when they were being elected & plough there salaries ECT back into the NHS, what happened to those who caused the chaos to put the NHS into dire straights financially, I haven’t seen or read anything about them being disiplined or dismissed for their incompetance or is it simply a case of putting them in other similar post with new employment contracts & rather large salaries, giving them free reign to cause chaos & disorder because they are incapable of admitting they are out of there depth.
    So much for health care for all from the cradle to the grave it is a sad day for Lewisham & its residence.

    • Phil says:

      “cutting Government ministers who do not forfill the policy they promised when they were being elected & plough there salaries ECT back into the NHS”

      Couldn’t agree more…

  4. Phil says:

    I think it’s time to step up the plate, if legal action goes against us then we should actively occupy the A&E department (whilst of course retaining the service for who those who need it), and block any attempt to close the unit down. If they decide to block wages on nurses, doctors etc maybe we could set up a donation fund to have their wages paid by us? Seems like a radical (maybe idiotic!) idea but we’ve got to block this somehow? It’s clear that todays announcement was politically motivated given the Tories will never gain power in Lewisham. Who do you think is worse overall then, Thatcher or Cameron?

  5. anthony manbee says:

    It is a tragic day, but all the more tragic that this PFI was signed off by a Labour Government – so the PFI scandal is carried across governments, regardless of tory/coalition/labour or whatever. It’s distressing to close the A&E, and it’s distressing to see Labour MPs, and a Labour council, saying that this closure is wrong, with all the PFI deals Lewisham Labour council has put in place and which will burden the community for years to come – far beyond, for example, the time that Steve Bullock will be in office, and he is responsible for the PFIs in Lewisham (as is Heidi Alexander).

    PFIs are only good for big business, and Hunt has done his job and assured big business are paid their pound of flesh, as did Gordon Brown before him.

    And Lewisham Council, lets not forget, likes to run a ‘consultation’ and then completely ignore it.

    You just can’t trust any politicians any more . . .

  6. Kate F says:

    Well done ands thank you everyone on this brilliant campaign.
    Watch Channel 4 news tonight, there should be some coverage.
    Keep up the good work – I am so grateful to everyone donating their time to this cause.

  7. PJ says:

    I think the changes that are being proposed are a form on indirect discrimination in that a group of people will be disadvantaged by this action –
    “Sometimes, a policy, rule or practice seems fair because it applies to everyone equally, but a closer look shows that some people are being treated unfairly. This is because some people or groups of people, are unable or less able to comply with the rule or are disadvantaged because of it. If this policy or practice is ‘not reasonable’, it may be indirect discrimination.”

    • admin says:

      Absolutely – one aspect of the review process Kershaw was meant to carry out was an Equalities Survey. This was not done and this was ignored. I will pass on your comments to people dealling with the legal arguments.

      Olivia for SLHC

  8. Claire says:

    I feel like the heart is being ripped out of our community. ‘Big Society’? More like a cohesive local society being trampled by a destructive monster. This is an essential, fundamental, necessary service. Thank you to all who have made us aware and protested the plans to date. Let’s continue the fight.

  9. Donald Stavert says:

    They asked the people, local doctors, local hospital staff, the council and the local trust about the proposals and we all said no not for us. They ignored us and approved them – so much for localism so much for local control and no top down reform.
    Why did he do it ? that’s easy it was an opportunity to cut and reduce public services and that’s what he is in politics for. Rolling back the state to the day when we have to pay for hospitals, schools and visits to the doctors and if you do not have the money you don’t get the service. No services mean tax cuts for the rich and misery for the rest of us. He is a Tory, they are nasty and they are in power and cutting everything as they always have. Voting them out is the only cure if you believe in a civilized society.

    • admin says:

      Agreed re getting rid of this bunch asap.

      However, the hospital has declared itself open for business for the forseeable future. The election is only two years away. (If this lot get in again, we are all sunk.) Jeremy Hunt has written about wanting to privatise the NHS so we know where he’s coming from. see wikipedia for mentions of Hunt’s expenses issues and his tax avoidance. I was trying to find a reference to the chapter he wrote about privatising the NHS but suddenly couldn’t find it. Maybe you can?

      Olivia for SLHC

  10. Lucy Wakefield says:

    This is such a sad and worrying day for the health and well being of lewisham residents. I honestly hoped that even a Tory could see that reducing the services so severely made no sense. It is so worrying to read the comments from the consultants on here regarding how it will effect our services.
    Thank you though to the Save lewisham hospital campaign and mps and those who have fought so hard to try and save the hospital. They ( and we) couldn’t have fought any harder.
    Let’s hope the legal campaign will have some clout. I have my doubts but time will tell…..

    • admin says:

      We will be fighting on. The hospital is declaring itself open for business for the forseeable future. These are interesting times. GPs who support the hospital will be in charge of commissioning services under the government’s own regulations from April. Let’s go forward together, community and hospital and win this thing.

      Olivia, for SLHC

  11. Hazel Waters says:

    I would like to know how many of the detailed letters, from all sections of Lewisham and SE London society the TSA and now Jeremy Hunt, have actually read, understood and dismissed on rational grounds of the arguments they made? Any of them? I sent 4 or 5 (including those emailed on the DH website). Since not a single specific question I raised has been answered, I have put in a freedom of information request – in relation to journey times quoted in the TSA report,evidential basis for the accounting system that proposes saving the projected £600,000 debt at Lewisham (the justification in the report, you will remember, for including Lewisham in the first place) at the expense of a £12million A&E and a £5million consultation; the evidential basis for recouping this money from lclosing Lewisham A&E, rather than selling off the DH’s two London office premises; what evidence of benefit to local groups such as People with Parkinson’s in Lewisham who benefit from the integrated care they receive locally from primary care through specialist neurological community services through LATT, to hospital care, including A&E, where they have access to their neurological consultant and on-site PDNS; and at what stage did they get the legal advice saying they could go ahead with this; on what grounds was that legal advice made.
    In a letter from the DH I was told that the Proposals should ‘show support from GP commissioners’; I would like to have a table of those commissioners in favour, and those against, and will ask for this information.

    • admin says:

      i think individuals such as yourself should put as much pressure on as possible. There will be a legal challenge, maybe more than one. The process has already started. We are certain the the Council will initiate a judicial review. All the evidence seems to have been ignored except that of government NHS appointees.

      I am hoping to put your letters on to the website – I’m sorry I haven’t done this yet but will do soon. I’m trying to keep the website as resource of all the best arguments that have been put forward. I will certainly draw attention to the points you make.

      Olivia for SLHC

      • Hazel Waters says:

        Thank you, I’ve also just emailed all the letters I’ve written to the email address on the website, very happy if there’s anything you can use. Will be putting in FOI requests relating to how many responses received, how many in favour, how many against, what proportion were read by TSA and Hunt himself, what infomration on the process and response made available to Keogh, Hunt’s go-to man.

  12. Mike says:

    I feel an application for a judicial review is the only way forward.
    And if that doesn’t work how about when lives are lost making a claim for corporate manslaughter against the right not so honorable Mr hunt?

    • admin says:

      Hi – there will be a legal challenge, maybe more than one. The process has already started. We are certain the the Council will initiate a judicial review. You’ll realise that Hunt has put a deal of thought into giving us the minimum while appearing to give a whole lot more. You can understand that we have to have discussions with different parties – but we will certainly publish details and an appeal for funds.

      All the best Olivia for SLHC

  13. Tony O'Sullivan says:

    Thank you Hazel
    Good luck with the FOIs and let us know if you get answers, though they may be as ‘creative’ with the truth as the whole TSA/McKinsey/NHS London bandwagon who start with the answer they want (close Lewisham Hospital) and work their way back to the question: ‘Do we have too many hospitals? [when answering this question remember that you cannot propose to close a financially struggling PFI hospital]’ inventing data on the way. They will learn from the Lewisham experience, fine tune their methods and move on to Peterborough, St Helier’s and beyond.

  14. Lou says:

    Does this now mean that half of my income will be taken and used to pay my neighbours mortgage when they fall behind on their payments? And I assume my house will be converted to a flat to cope with my halved income, even though that won’t be fit for purpose for my family. This still won’t cover my neighbours debt and help them out but they are Tory voters so at least they’ll be pleased with the help and they’ll keep voting. Me on the other hand, what can I do? The government have these special powers that I must abide by even if they seem unfair and illegal!

    I also work in an outstanding Bromley school, will it be closed down so that the cash we get can go to one of the struggling Lewisham schools? What will happen to our students? Even if they are put on a bus to Lewisham the classrooms are already full there so they’ll get turned away. Silly me, that would never happen because Bromley is Tory through and through!

    • Michael Runnicles says:

      A witty analogy. It is a tragedy that we will probably never be able to prove that this is a political decision, underpinned by an incomplete report. It undermines the very notion of regenerating Lewisham.

  15. Joseph Lewis says:

    After my sons were born they were looked after for 2 weeks in Lewisham’s excellent NICU unit. The dedication of the staff there inspired me to walk to Canterbury from Lewisham and raise £1000 for the NICU unit. That’s the kind of affection people have for their local hospital, and this government and its cronies can destroy it with one stroke of a pen.

  16. Sam says:

    Is there to be a proper legal challenge to this decision eg calling for a judicial review? I wondered if Michael Mansfield QC may be interested?
    Can you publish any details of proposed legal action and fundraising ?
    Are Lewisham Council going to take legal action or is it just talk?
    Thanks. Let’s not give up. The march last Saturday shows that people don’t always just stay home and mutter.

    • admin says:

      Hi – there will be a legal challenge, maybe more than one. The process has already started. We are certain the the Council will initiate a judicial review. You’ll realise that Hunt has put a deal of thought into giving us the minimum while appearing to give a whole lot more. You can understand that we have to have discussions with different parties – but we will certainly publish details and an appeal for funds. We’ve already discussed a range of excellent ideas at the campaign meeting prior to Hunt’s announcement on a range of levels – actions, legal, political etc.

      Lewisham Hospital is declaring itself open for business for the forseeable future. Local GPs, from April, are able to commission services and this is an interesting area. So, much to do but there is great determination and optimism.

      Olivia for SLHC

  17. Ashleigh Marh says:

    Lots of good sense in these comments – pity it’s not easier to find them on the website. I think the upshot of Jeremy Hunt’s announcement is that we still have a chance to save Lewisham’s A&E if we keep up the fight and show we are willing and able to defend it. The proposed ambulance time figures are a joke – this is obvious and we need to get some accurate figures. Then we can demand adequate consultant cover at Lewisham. (There was an accident that blocked Denmark Hill completely for at least an hour last night for example.) As long as we don’t let buildings be sold we can win in the long term, the creeping cuts agenda will try to win by dissipating our energy. SE13 massive!

  18. Ashleigh Marh says:

    PS – I’d really like to ask Heidi Alexander who exactly the South London Trust PFI deal beneficiaries are, whether she regrets being part of a government that signed them and what she will promise for the future of the NHS should she find her party in a similar position again…

  19. Peter Ranken says:

    I agree with Mike that the way forward is a judicial review. If the Council don’t apply for one then we, as residents, must do so and ask Andy Burnham and the Labour Party to support us with legal advice and representation. The TSA’s recommendations are fraudulent as they are depriving Lewisham taxpayers of vital emergency services by transferring them to the South London Healthcare NHS Trust to shore up its indebtedness. This is illegal use of our money and is further compounded by the fact that Jeremy Hunt said in answer to Joan Ruddock in the Commons on 8th January that the changes must have support from the GP Commissioners, the public, patients and local authorities. Instead he relied on the advice of his own adviser Sir Bruce Keogh, who is not local, because he knew the Lewisham proposals had no support from any of the groups mentioned and that the four tests had not been met. Any Judge worth his salt will judge the whole process to be illegal.

    • admin says:

      We are confident that a judicial review will take place imminently – we will be launching an appeal for funds – we anticipate very strongly that the Council will be supporting this.s. We are printing on the website today a letter to Sir Bruce Keogh from Lewisham Clinicians about the role of his ‘advice’ which was used to such damning effect by HUnt. See letter under ‘Latest’ menu. We are formulating ideas and actions – please be assured that the fight will continue stronger than ever, with and behalf of the Lewisham community – political, judicial and through actions.

      Olivia for SLHC

  20. Jenny says:

    The current issue of Private Eye (no. 1333, 8-21 Feb 2013 p. 5) estimates the total cost of implementing these spiteful proposals at close to £750 million. It also suggests that plans to sell off some of Lewisham’s property assets won’t come anywhere near offsetting these costs. I realise of course, that it’s not just about the money, far from it. Once Lewisham is downgraded it will die a slow death – unfortunately, like many of the citizens it currently serves. Also, once the property land etc is sold off, it will disappear forever from pubic ownership. We must fight on.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the info Jenny. We are fighting on – we must fight this to the end – ‘spiteful proposals’ is a good way of putting it. Lewisham is a particularly unjust case and we are taking them to judicial review – but they are doing this all over the country. Hopefully th Lewisham fight can lead the fight back.
      Olivia for SLHT

  21. Ashleigh Marsh says:

    Judicial review is one avenue, but I feel sure the campaign needs to keep pro-active with imaginative and practical actions like the buggy parade. The PFI profiteers need to be brought to account by all of us. I have been more sceptical of legal appeals since the Supreme Court replaced the Law lords’ presence in parliament, just because the decisions are made in a less public way.

    As regards pressure on an aspiring Labour administration – well, look at the history, and ask who you can trust. This excellent piece from puts HNS ‘reforms’ in context –

    Both Tory and Labour governments have had an agenda to privatise health for many decades now. Each take turns to see how much damage they can manage. I see no likelihood that this will change if we keep playing pass the parcel.

  22. Hazel Waters says:

    I have today made the following freedom of information request:I wish to know:
    • The effective annual rate of interest currently being paid on the PFI debt to Barclays Bank, Taylor Woodrow and Innisfree in respect of SLHT
    • The number of letters, emails and written communications submitted to the TSA in respect of the report on SLHT, with specific reference to the proposals relating to Lewisham hospital
    • How many of these were in favour of the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital
    • How many were opposed to the proposals relating to Lewisham hospital
    • How many were read in their entirety by a) the TSA and, b) the Secretary of Stage for Health
    • Of those read in their entirety by the TSA and Secretary of State, what proportion were in favour of the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital
    • Of those read in their entirety by the TSA and the Secretary of State, what proportion were opposed
    • What ancillary material relating to the proposals concerning Lewisham Hospital, in particular representations from clinicians and the wider public, was made available to Sir Bruce Keogh
    • What are the numbers, titles and areas covered of GP Commissioning Groups in favour of the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital.
    • What are the numbers, titles and areas covered of GP Commissioning Groups opposed to the proposals relating to Lewisham hospital
    • What action did the TSA and the Secretary of State take to seek the views of the disabled, the chronically sick and those with long-term conditions in relation to the proposals concerning Lewisham Hospital
    • How were the special needs of such groups factored in to the decision-making process
    • What is the estimated cost of carrying out the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital
    • What are the assumptions and calculations on which these sums are based
    • What is the estimated saving of carrying out the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital
    • What are the assumptions and calculations on which these figures are based
    • What is the detailed timetable for the implementation of the proposals
    • What is the estimated cost of continuing to run Lewisham Hospital services as currently configured over the above period, should these proposals not be implemented
    • What alternatives were considered to the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital to recoup those proposals’ projected savings
    • What were the estimated costs of implementing any such alternatives
    • What were the estimated savings of implementing any such alternatives

    When/if I get answers,I will let you all know!


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