On 8 January, the Special Administrator released a response to the public “consultation” over his proposals to reorganise south London health services — including closures at Lewisham Hospital.
It acknowledged that it had encountered 96% opposition to the closure of the A&E department... but pledged to carry on with the closure regardless!
The people behind this plan have an undisguised contempt for the people of Lewisham. We cannot let them shut our services.
On 4 February, Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt will make his announcement in response to the recommendations of Trust Special Administrator Matthew Kershaw.
Kershaw has recommended the closure of Lewisham Hospital A&E, maternity and urgent care units and children’s wards and elderly care in response to massively unjust Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debts in South London Health Trust.
Kershaw also recommends clearing 60% of the hospital site, at a huge loss of £35 million, as well as £100 million cuts to services in Greenwich, Bexley and Bromley.
PFI deals are bankrupting health trusts across the country. The attacks on Lewisham Hospital are spearheading the Tory/Lib-Dem attacks on the NHS across the country. Equally the Save Leiwsham Hospital Campaign is showing the way on building a broad community and labour movement based fightback. In just over three months since Kershaw published his recommendations the campaign has organised a local march of between 10 to 15,000 people, a public rally with around 500 people, a protest at a consultation meeting where Kershaw was speaking with several hundred people protesting their opposition, regular weekly stalls on high streets throughout the borough and a vigil outside the hositpal on a freezing cold evening in December with more than 200 people.
Local people are very angry about the threat of closure and the campaign is full of determined campaigners. Many are new to such work. All understand the importance of this fight, not only for Lewisham and south London but for the NHS as a whole.
If the Government is successful at closing Lewisham Hospital, it will confidently stride forward to attack other Trusts around the country.
Just days before Hunt announces his decision, the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has called another demonstration on Saturday 26 January, assembling midday at Loampit Vale roundabout (next to Lewisham DLR/rail station).
We are urging all those who oppose the Tory/Lib-Dem attacks on the NHS to join the march, sign the 100 foot petition and sign up to the campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital which will continue to fight until the threat of cuts and closures is defeated.
Join the campaign: to get involved or to find out what’s going on or how you can help visit our website.
We need resgular help with the leafleting, stalls on high streets, at train stations etc, artwork, ideas etc.
The campaign meets weekly to plan and coordinate activities and welcomes anyone who opposes the closure.
• Download the latest Lewisham Hospital Worker, AWL’s workplace bulletin, here