Protesters march against reconfiguration plans
29 January 2013
Doctors and other healthcare workers joined thousands of people in a protest against plans to reconfigure a hospital because of failings at a neighbouring trust.
The SLHC (Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign) estimated that 25,000 people marched through south London last weekend.
Protesters are opposed to recommendations by trust special administrator Matthew Kershaw to address the issues at the bankrupt SLHT (South London Healthcare NHS Trust), which would results in services being closed or downgraded at Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust, which is not in financial difficulty.
SLHC chair and Lewisham GP Louise Irvine said: ‘The government’s criteria for reconfigurations have not been met [at Lewisham]; the consultation process was flawed.
‘The plans are not about improving care, they’re about bailing out toxic PFI debt [at SLHT]; the rate of interest is outrageous.’
Sydenham GP Jim Sikorski said: ‘Splintering services will cost more. Lewisham clinical commissioning group has built up strong links with University Hospital Lewisham, which produces locally viable care. It is the fifth-best performing hospital in the country.’
Mr Kershaw recommends that the SLHT should be dissolved and other organisations should run its services.
He says the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich should join Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust to create a new organization, and Princess Royal Hospital, Orpington, should be acquired by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The University Hospital Lewisham emergency department would be closed and its maternity services downgraded.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is due to decide whether to accept the recommendations next week.