Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
South London Healthcare Trust - the impact on Lewisham and Greenwich
LEWISHAM'S A&E department will be axed and its trust will combine with Woolwich's Queen Elizabeth Hospital under plans slammed by campaigners as "disastrous".
The recommendations have come after the South London Healthcare Trust - which ran Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary's in Sidcup and the Princess Royal in Farnborough - became the first to be put into administration earlier this year, with a 2011 deficit of £69m.
Administrator Matthew Kershaw published his long-awaited report on Monday, recommending breaking up the trust and a series of cost-cutting measures greeted with dismay by patients, politicians and campaigners.
They claim the Woolwich site could be overrun with blue light cases, while the possible closure of Lewisham's maternity service has also led to opposition.
The plans, due to take place over three years, would see Lewisham become a centre for around 44,000 'non-complex' patients per year from the whole of south east London - procedures such as hip or knee replacements - thereby becoming the country's largest.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital's A&E would take in the majority of cases which once went to Lewisham.
It is claimed that Lewisham would still treat 77 per cent of people who currently attend its A&E, dealing with things like x-rays, minor fractures, stitching wounds and minor infections.
The administrator claims such reforms would actually save hundreds of lives while saving £26.9m annually, with some Lewisham buildings being sold-off.
Administrator Matthew Kershaw said: "These proposals not only address the situation, but will, I believe, actually achieve a sustainable improvement in the quality and safety of both emergency and planned healthcare for the two million people who live in south east London."
Campaigners from Keep Our NHS Public, who run the savelewishamhospital.com website, protested outside the central London presentation venue and have organised a campaign meeting on November 8 at the Lessoff auditorium, Lewisham Hospital at 6pm.
Frances Hook from the group, which will also hold a demonstration at Loampit Vale from 2pm on November 24, said: "It's a disastrous decision. Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be over capacity even more than it already is."
A period of consultation on the recommendations begins on Friday and ends on December 13. Public meetings are planned and responses can also be made online at tsa.nhs.uk, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0808 129 5719.
On January 7, the final report with be delivered to the Secretary of State for his decision.
Heidi Alexander Mp has set up a petition against the Lewisham Hospital closure.
MP for Lewisham and Deptford Joan Ruddock: "We need accident and emergency services and we need maternity services so I cannot see how it can be justified to downgrade these services and I will do everything in my power to retain quality services at the Lewisham site."
MP for Greenwich and Woolwich Nick Raynsford: "The Queen Elizabeth has been subject to so many reorganisations over the last 10 years that it is difficult to know whether what now is proposed will prove a really sound future or a false storm, in just the same way as setting up or SLHT four years ago promised to solve problems and didn’t."
MP for Lewisham West and Penge Jim Dowd: "I will do all I can to prevent the destruction of Lewisham Hospital and the vital, life saving services it provides to local people. I cannot understand how damaging the services provided to people in one area can benefit residents in another."
Councillor Alan Hall, Lewisham Labour: "We will fight to save Lewisham’s A&E and maternity service. Lewisham Labour strongly objects to these outrageous recommendations as they spell the end of Lewisham Hospital as we know it."
Councillor Chris Maines, Lewisham Lib Dems: "How can Lewisham residents have any confidence in health administrators who invest huge sums of public money in new Maternity and A&E facilities at Lewisham only to close them within months of opening them? It is grossly unfair for Lewisham residents, where the local Hospital Trust has balanced the books, to bear the brunt of these cuts. The PFI debt is toxic and is being spread around South London rather being contained within the affected Trust."
Other key recommendations
- Either shutting Lewisham Hospital's maternity unit or making it a standalone obstetric-led delivery facility.
- Making Lewisham Hospital an elective centre for non-complex inpatient procedures.
- Merger of Queen Elizabeth and Lewisham to create a new organisation.
- Improving "operational efficiency", slashing £79m across the trust sites over three years - including cutting full time staff by 140.
- £20m to £25m from Department for Health to cover the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Pru PFI deals.
Changes at Lewisham
- From full admitting A&E to non-admitting urgent care centre.
- End of 24/7 surgical emergency admissions.
- From obstetric and co-located midwife-led birthing unit to potential obstetric and co-located midwifeled birthing unit.
- End of 24/7 emergency medicine.
- End of critical care unit.
- End of inpatient paediatric service.
- End of complex inpatient surgery.