Lewishambles

Jeremy Hunt by The Department for Culture, Media and Sport on Flickr
Jeremy Hunt’s plans for Lewisham Hospital:
A&E to be downgraded to a non-admitting Urgent Care Centre.
Maternity unit to be downgraded by 90% to a midwife-led birthing centre.

Read the full paper here.

You can watch the video of Jeremy Hunt’s performance in the House of Commons today

On youtube here

here.  You’ll need Silverlight installed, and you need to scroll to 11:33.  You’ll be able to see the outrage of many London MPs at what is being pushed through.

James Cleverly’s astonishingly ill-judged tweet (Conservative member of the London Assembly):

Heidi Alexander, before the announcement:

But it’s not over. As the Lewisham Lib Dems put it:

To which Darryl1974 suggested

And Heidi Alexander suggested the same thing on her blog:

“There is also a big legal question about whether the Secretary of State has the power to axe vital services at Lewisham based on the administration process that has taken place.

I know that Lewisham Council have threatened the Secretary of State with judicial review proceedings.

It seems to me that this decision could still be challenged in the courts and I will be seeking an urgent update from Lewisham Council about their plans.”

And a statement from Mayor Bullock today:
“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.”

Good to see the Evening Standard informing and educating the metropolis:

So what to do? Suggestions below please.

Title of this blog pinched from KierShiels:

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9 Comments

Filed under blackheath, lewisham, politics

9 responses to “Lewishambles

  1. Kate B

    There’s an extraordinary amount of spin going on here. Kershaw’s original proposals never suggested closing A&E, it was always going to be some kind of Urgent Care Centre. After having to admit in the final version of his proposal that this Centre could only accommodate around 50% (as opposed to 77% I think in the original version) of the number currently attending A&E, and after Sir Bruce Keogh said there needed to be more provision, lo and behold it is now going to have senior medical staff 24/7 and be able to accommodate around 75% of current levels. So not very much gained at all, but the government, and inexplicably the media, are treating it as a capitulation by the government.

    I would like to read Bruce Keogh’s report – even from the little that Jeremy Hunt quoted it seemed as if Keogh has quite serious reservations about what’s projected to happen – especially for paediatrics about which not so much fuss has been made – even if he agrees with the general principles.

  2. Kevin Bonavia

    As the posters all around us say: “Don’t keep calm: get angry and save Lewisham A&E” – the efforts of tens of thousands of people have made this as a national issue, showing that it sets a bad precedent for successful hospitals all around the country. The intense public pressure on the Government will go on – with the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign already organising demonstrations on Friday 15 February and Saturday 16 February – check http://www.savelewishamhospital.com for confirmations.

    At the same time as expressing our public outrage at the decimation of our hospital, we also need a few calm heads analysing the plans in detail for prospects for a legal challenge, and I understand Lewisham Council’s lawyers are doing just that.

    An application for judicial review is definitely worth considering, not least because this is an unprecedented type of decision, so impossible to compare with a similar decision that was legally sound. The more obvious legal concerns are whether the decision was ultra vires, eg was implementing changes on Lewisham beyond the remit of an administrator dealing with the problems neighbouring NHS, and did the administrator use wrong criteria in assessing impact eg assumptions that people will be using hospitals less in future because of more care at home.

    More on this route is likely to follow as the finer details of the plan are analysed (what we had today was, to put it politely, mere window dressing to cover up the fact of hardly any change from the administrator’s report). If a judicial review application looks like a runner, I am sure Lewisham Council will be unanimous (as it has been in response to all this so far) in supporting it. But as has already been suggested, I would also back a campaign for public donations towards legal funding, as we already have enough headaches in trying to protect vital local public services with ever reducing council budgets.

  3. richard

    Its amusing to note that the same protestors would be up in arms if the National was taken out of the NHS yet still think their local hospital operates in a vacuum to the national funsing issues that prevail in the NHS. There will be lots more decisions like the Lewisham case to be taken over the next ten years as we deal with 50 years of unfunded promises by our political elite.

    • The protesters are angry because the hospital is being downgraded despite performing better than neighbouring hospitals. Pretty sure “our political elite” are busy making these decisions. And I don’t see any amusement.

    • Franklin

      A vacuous and crassly ideological comment, even by your standards of mindlessness, Richard.

      The problems at SLHT derive not from “50 years of unfunded promises” but from the previous government’s collusion in the adoption of poorly designed PFI contracts sold to it by rapacious and exploitative private sector service providers.

      Rather than learning from Labour’s mistakes, the Tories have seized on SLHT’s bankruptcy to further hollow out public sector health provision and push yet more private sector ‘solutions’.

  4. richard

    I dont recall saying that the problems at SLHT derived from 50 years of unfunded promises. The fact that there is now no spare cash to sort out the problem is a product of the bill for these unfunded promises now falling due as the baby boomers start to retire. Unless a political magician can come up with a solution to the UK’s growth rate which is a direct product of our public and private debt levels then get used to much more of this as the government hasnt made any meaningful cuts to public expenditure yet, certainly not in the NHS.

  5. Jeremy Hunt’s biography page on the Conservative Party’s website boasts his ‘proudest achievement’ as the saving from closure of the A&E at the Royal Surrey, not a million miles from his constituency. Following a bit of publicity re this hypocrisy, the page has disappeared, error 404! Luckily you can still view the page at Google’s cache http://is.gd/4dPNbm.

  6. iwasonthemarch

    Can someone please explain to this poor confused OAP living in SE3 how, according to Jeremy Hunt, journeys to other A&E departments will only “take a minute longer” than getting to Lewisham hospital?
    From where I live it’s a 12-minute walk to the nearest buses at Lewisham station. From there it’s a further 10 minutes or so to Lewisham hospital or around 1 hour – and sometimes much more in the rush hour – to King’s, QEH or Farnborough.
    One minute more? I really don’t think so.

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