Tag Archives: A&E

Digitally impaired

Last night, I slammed my left index finger in a car door. I’m left handed (of course). So I swore a bit, shouted at the long-suffering Mrs Bugle to get some ice, swore a bit more and went to bed.

The next morning it was still hurting, and had gone a bit purple. Most of the nail was black. So I phoned NHS Direct, who asked me to answer several questions using computerised voice recognition to determine which council I live in. Then they told me that the service was no longer available in my area, and told me to call 111 instead.

So I called 111, and spoke to a guy who got logged out of his system, then logged in again. He asked me a load of questions from a flow diagram, then told me I should go to my nearest A&E.

So I went, for the first time ever to Lewisham’s A&E department. And they were brilliant. All my details were entered at reception. They knew who my GP was, and updated my records. A nurse saw me after a 5 minute wait, then I was sent to get an x-ray. Look!

photo (6)

Apparently it’s got a tiny fracture at the top. Then I was sent to another nurse, who already had the x-ray up on her computer, then decided to cut a hole in the top of the fingernail, and drain some blood out of the finger (fun!). All the staff were friendly and helpful.

Then it was bandaged up, I was given some painkillers, plasters, and some anti-biotics, and now I’m at home typing with even less skill than usual.

I’m extremely glad that Jeremy Hunt hasn’t yet managed to close my nearest A&E department, or to downgrade it. He won’t bother closing hospitals in areas where there are lots of his voters, only in areas where there are lots of poor people, like Lewisham.

However, having lost this battle, he now wants to change the law, so that he can carry on screwing up our hospitals.

You need to sign this petition, and with a bit of luck, next time you slam your finger in a car door, you’ll have as good a level of service as I just did.


Filed under blackheath

Practical ways to save Lewisham Hospital

From Councillor Kevin Bonavia:

Lewisham Council have just served our legal challenge on the Government’s decision to drastically downgrade Lewisham Hospital A&E and maternity services on the ground that the Special Adminstrator was acting beyond his powers.

Depending on how the Government respond, this could end up being decided in Court as part of a substantial judicial review, by which we would seek the Court rendering the Government’s decision void.

As such, this could be a costly process, so the Council has set up a Legal Action Fund for the public to donate whatever they can towards legal funding. We don’t know at this early stage how much will be required, but if there is any surplus it will go to a local charity, Children First Lewisham.

The link to the online donation form can be found here: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/news/Pages/Council-takes-Lewisham-Hospital-decision-to-the-courts.aspx

I think this is a good practical step forward. I’ve replied to Kevin asking for a breakdown of the costs involved – I’ll update this page when he replies UPDATE: see below

If you can contribute to the fund, the direct link is here:

You can pay by credit or debit card, and the minimum is a fiver.


From Kevin again:

The costs of the legal challenge are initially likely to consist mostly of engaging specialist barrister expertise at Queen’s Counsel level, which unfortunately is not pro bono. Other work is being carried out by the Counsel’s in-house legal team for which there is no additional cost, although it does of course add to their workload. Provision also has to be made for any costs orders that be made by the Court during judicial review proceedings, but it is too early to estimate how much these might be at the moment.

As for operating the legal challenge fund, there are no external costs as this has been set up and maintained by Council officers, so it’s a matter of use of officers’ time, which I understand is quite minimal since the payment system used is the same as that for other payments made to the Council online. Just to make a small clarification to your post, I understand that people can enter a lower sum than the suggested £5 – and also a higher sum than the suggested maximum of £25! As of yesterday, the fund had received donations in a total sum of £2,400.


Filed under lewisham

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


Filed under lewisham, politics