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):
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:
- 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.
- Let the Secretary of State know what you think by sending your views directly to him. Email Jeremy Hunt on email@example.com 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
- 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.
Heidi Alexander MP
At 4.30pm today the Blackheath Lights will be switched on. Nick Ferrari, the quietly-spoken socialist will be doing the honours. Shops are staying open later, The Samaritans are carol singing, and the Salvation Army will be playing from 3pm.
Before and after image from the lights switch-on back in 2008, when I had more time to write this blog (apologies for the lack of updates lately- work is busy).
The graph above shows the number of people who visited Lewisham’s various libraries in 2012. The green line at the bottom is the Blackheath community library.
Let’s zoom in a bit, and just look at the community libraries:
So of all the community libraries in Lewisham, ours gets the fewest visits (and the fewest items issued too incidentally).
But maybe the old library was never very popular either, right? Except that here are the two months of visitors data just before it closed. Look how they compare to the same two months in 2012 for the new library:
For every one person that walks into the current library, more than five people walked into the old one in 2011.
The old library which is now a private school.
I hope the Labour councillors and MP are proud of this achievement. Bravo.
Issue Data from google doc here.
Visitor data from google doc here.
See previous post on this subject Ex-libraries from 2011
By running a web service, I should be able to access the council’s website out of hours. It’s a great idea, because it means that even when the staff aren’t in the office, I can still pay my council tax, or order some green garden bags.
Except that I can’t. For some reason I always end up attempting this task at the end of a weekend. By which time their web services usually look like the screen grab shown above.
Here’s what’s supposed to happen. You’re running some web apps. You monitor the servers that those apps are hosted on. You monitor their vital signs, (are the hard drives ok, has one of the power supplies gone a bit iffy, is it too hot in the server room), then you monitor the services running on that server. Finally you run some sanity checks on the actual web front end every so often. Can you still access the server, is the SQL database still accepting connections, etc etc. If any one of these things fails, someone in your team should be on call, and receive a text message. Then they proxy in, and fix it (or at least reboot something!).
To do this, you use a wonderful system called Nagios. It’s free and open-source, but a bit of a pain to set up, but it’s also highly configurable. You can get it to only fire messages to your on-call person when two minor faults have occurred. You can set it to wait a specific number of minutes to see if a fault resolves itself. You can even start firing text messages and emails to the on-call person’s boss if it’s still broken after a couple of hours!
If you work for Lewisham council, you should ask your IT people about this. It’s not that hard, and if it’s done well, it means that you’ll know about a fault before any of your users do.
Please, for the sake of my untidy garden.
UPDATE: There’s a newer post about this event here.
The timetable for the Olympics “big screen” on Blackheath has been released:
27 July 7.30pm-12.30am
London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
The Lewisham Big Screen will show live coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
27 July – 12 August
Live coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Watch live coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games on a big screen on Blackheath
28 July 12 noon-7pm
Music, dance and song from Lewisham’s talented young people
29 July 12 noon-10.30pm
A day of song and music from choirs around the borough – and the BBC Singers
30 July 6-11pm
Blackheath Halls presents The Icarus Club
The Icarus Club – promoting and encouraging singer/songwriters and instrumentalists
31 July 2-4pm
21st Century Tea Dance
Positive Ageing Council and the Young Mayor present the 21st Century Tea Dance
1 August 1-5pm
Music and sport – a London 2012 combination
Mayor’s Quiz Night
Quiz night in aid of the Mayor’s chosen charity – The Lavender Trust
4 August 12 noon-10.30pm
Super Saturday – stalls, performers, entertainment galore
8 August 7-9.30pm
The Big Conversation
Join the Big Conversation – and find out what’s important to you
9 August 1-5pm
Southern Exposure PG Fim Marathon
26 films from 26 young directors
10 August 12 noon-10.30pm
A day of stories, performance poets, readings and verse
11 August From 12 noon
A day of street performances
12 August 7.30-10.30pm
London 2012 Closing Ceremony
See also: https://blackheathbugle.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/the-greatest-hyperbole-on-earth/
Local councillor Kevin Bonvia
has emailed to say that plans are afoot in Lewisham to host two beacons in honour of the Queen’s Diamond jubilee. One is likely to be on the heath. See the PDF file here
, and google map above, based on the grid coordinates TQ39501 76629 in the doc. More info on Liz’s homepage
There’s also an excellent article here, with a foreword by Jeremy Hunt, explaining exactly how best to light a fire. Which could come in handy if the government’s austerity measures get any worse.
In the course of 2012, I’m also hopeful that our local councils (Lewisham and Greenwich) will manage to cook up a few high profile schemes that don’t involve the Olympics or the Monarchy, and will have a legacy longer than that of a few weeks.