Boy George has backed the campaign to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E department. The singer, who comes from Lewisham, tweeted on October 29: “Lewisham Hospital A&E to shut? Look at cutting the wages at the top in the NHS and stop destroying a wonderful institution!”
He was responding to Monday’s announcement that the South London Health trust has gone into administration and that the administrator, Matthew Kershaw, has recommend the closure of the Lewisham A&E and Maternity departments.
The Lewisham A&E department was only refurbished, for £12 million, in April this year.
The Trust is currently losing 65 million a year – 1.3 million a week and it is the first Trust ever to go into administration. Kershaw announced that 100 million will need to be saved over the next five years.
Lewisham East Labour MP Heidi Alexander has set up a petition that asks the administrator to amend his final recommendations to the secretary of state.
She has argued, “We believe a full admitting A&E service and a full maternity service at Lewisham Hospital must remain.”
Local Green party members have also backed the campaign. Lewisham councillor and Green party member Darren Johnson has said: “ We need to stop treating the NHS like a business and start treating it like the world class public service it deserves to be. Lewisham Greens have consistently fought any plans to close or downgrade facilities at Lewisham Hospital. We will continue to do so.”
Iain Wilson from the Save Lewisham A&E told East London Lines: “Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health has appointed a technocrat (Administrator, Matthew Kershaw) who has never cared for a patient to solve the debt problem at South London health trust. He will be allowed to produce a report to Jeremy Hunt about what to do in South London. He has invited ‘expressions of interest’ from corporations and neighbouring foundation trusts to take over services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“Closing A&E’s destroys hospitals. It kills morale and it results in all acute services slowly losing patients until they shut.”
A public meeting will take place on November 8 at the Lessoff Auditorium in Lewisham Hospital. Jim Dowd MP, Heidi Alexander MP, Mayor Steve Bullock, local GP Doctor Louise Irvine and BMA council members will attend the meeting.
A demonstration ‘Hands Around Our Hospital’ will take place on Saturday 24 November at 2pm. The march will begin from Loampit Vale roundabout to Lewisham Hospital and will end with the linking of hands around Lewisham Hospital.
Sign the petition to save Lewisham hospital here.