Monthly Archives: January 2013

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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Lewisham Hospital: decision imminent

From 38 degrees:

Across London, NHS services are under threat. Right now, the health secretary Jeremy Hunt is considering scrapping vital services at Lewisham Hospital. If he does, 750,000 Londoners could have just one casualty department between them.

We’ve only got a few hours to stop him – he could be making the decision tomorrow. So far, over 13,000 members of 38 Degrees have asked Hunt to keep Lewisham’s services open. And last Saturday, an amazing 25,000 people turned out to line Lewisham’s streets in protest.

Don’t let Jeremy Hunt close vital Lewisham NHS services. Email him now here:  http://38d.gs/nhs-lewisham

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Probably the best cheese shop in the world

Neal's Yard Dairy Cheese by Mermaid99 on Flickr

Oxfam are holding a charity Cheese & Wine evening this Wednesday.  The cheese is from Neal’s Yard Dairy, which is certainly the most amazing cheese shop I’ve ever been into.  It’s in Covent Garden, full of free samples of delicious unusual cheeses, served up by enthusiastic people who know what they’re talking about.

Anyway, back to the story.  The wines are from the local Everyday Wines, which used to be “Nicholas” (a much better name for a wine shop!).  The tickets are £10 and when I looked there were only seven left.  So snap them up!

Photo above is of Neal’s Yard cheeses, by Mermaid99 on Flickr.  (Not the actual cheeses being presented, your mileage may vary, etc, etc).

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Snowy Blackheath


It’s extremely snowy in Blackheath! But something is very wrong. All the trains appear to be running on time, and there is grit on several pavement corners. I have no idea why or how this has happened, but this oversight should not go unpunished.

Every year I dream of building a massive network of igloos across the heath, strung together with little ice tunnels. It never happens, but last year I managed to build an igloo (not in Blackeath). It’s not as hard as it looks, so long as you have lots of help, and some big plastic crates from a Pound Shop to compact the snow bricks. Try it and let me know where your Blackheath Igloo is!

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Amazing cartoon in the New Statesman

Absurdity and Emergency by Tom Humberstone
Great cartoon by Tom Humberstone in the New Statesman.
It’ll take more than cartoons to save the hospital, I fear.
Click on the image to view the full sized original at the New Statesman.
Spotted on Twitter by @SaveLewishamAE.

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Jeremy Hunt won’t meet Lewisham hospital objectors

Heidi Alexander MP asked the following to Jeremy Hunt (from Hansard):

Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East, Labour)
Last week, the Secretary of State refused my request to meet a small group of local GPs, hospital doctors and residents who are opposed to the closure of accident and emergency and maternity at Lewisham hospital, yet in his former role he seemed very happy to trade hundreds of texts with Rupert Murdoch’s lobbyists about the purchase of BSkyB by News Corp. Why is it one rule for Rupert Murdoch’s lobbyists and another for doctors in Lewisham?

Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey, Conservative)
I think that the hon. Lady might perhaps read Lord Leveson’s conclusions before she starts hurling about allegations, many of which came from her side of the House, that were later shown to be totally false. With respect to the decision on Lewisham hospital, I thought that we had a very useful meeting last night with the south London MPs who are directly affected. She understands that the process put into law by her party and her Government means that I cannot reopen the entire consultation and start seeing some groups without seeing all groups that are affected. That is why I am limiting the discussions I have with colleagues, but I think that that is the right thing to do.

The Blackheath Society has emailed its members:

Further to our email yesterday regarding the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign we have now been asked to let you know about an additional mass rally which is taking place on the same day – 26 January to highlight all the other plans to cut the local health services.     All those who care about their local hospitals and health services are being urged to join this rally starting on Blackheath – near All Saints Church – at 12 noon.  The group will move on to join the Lewisham campaigners who are meeting at the roundabout near Lewisham station and all will march to the rally in Mountsfield Park.

For more information:  jane.chapman1@btconnect.com  020 8856 3682

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Lewisham Hospital update

So the consultation results are in.  Apparently it’s a great idea to close Lewisham A&E and maternity wards.  I’m sure that’s what you all sent to the consultation.

Email from our local MP Heidi Alexander (emphasis mine):

Dear Sir/Madam
Thank you again for signing the petition to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity department, which I presented to No. 10 just before Christmas. Over 35,000 people have now signed the petition, and together we are sending a loud and clear message that we strongly oppose the plans for closure.
Despite this, we learnt this week that the Special Administrator appointed to the South London Healthcare Trust has formally recommended to Government that both A&E and maternity services at Lewisham should close. He proposes to replace them with an urgent care centre and a midwife-led birthing unit.
Many people – including me – feel badly let down by the so-called consultation process that has taken place. It is sheer madness to be shutting down services at a solvent, successful hospital in order to deal with financial problems elsewhere. I am also extremely concerned about the inadequate services that will be left for South East London – just this week the two closest maternity units, at Queen Elizabeth, Woolwich and Kings, had to turn away pregnant women in labour as they were at capacity.
But this is not a done deal, and together we must keep up the fight.
The Health Secretary is currently considering these proposals, and will be announcing his decision on 1st February. Along with my parliamentary colleagues Dame Joan Ruddock and Jim Dowd, I will be doing all that I can to convince the Health Secretary of the case against these proposals. But we need your help.
Between now and 1st February, please do all that you can to help the campaign. If you have 5 minutes or 5 days, there are lots of ways you can get involved. At the bottom of this email, there are specific contacts and things you can do to help – for example, leafleting, making placards or being a steward at campaign events.
If you can only spare a little time, please do the following:

  1. Protest against the proposals. The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign have organised a second peaceful demonstration on Saturday 26th January. Assemble at Lewisham Roundabout (by the station) at 12, before we march past the hospital to Mountsfield Park for a rally, music and giant petition. I will be speaking at the rally.
  2. Let the Secretary of State know what you think by sending your views directly to him. Email Jeremy Hunt on mb-sofs@dh.gsi.gov.uk or write to him at Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Department for Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS
  3. Forward this email on to your friends. Spread the word about the campaign! This does not only affect the people of Lewisham, and Mr Hunt needs to know that people across South East London are not prepared to accept these recommendations and have their services and their safety compromised.

The campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital is far from over. We must be prepared to step up and make our voices heard. I hope we can count upon your support.
Best wishes
Heidi Alexander MP

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