- Tower Hamlets
Over 30,000 signatures have been handed into 10 Downing Street today, in protest against the proposed closure of Lewisham A&E and maternity units.
Consultants and doctors from Lewisham Hospital joined Heidi Alexander, Labour MP for Lewisham-East, as she presented 32,186 signatures to the Prime Minister.
Joan Ruddock, Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, and Jim Dowd, Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge, met with Alexander to hand in three petitions opposing recommendations by Matthew Kershaw, NHS trust special administrator.
Speaking to Eastlondonlines, Alexander said: “The people of Lewisham just aren’t going to stand for this. The campaign has been incredible, and it has brought together people from all over Lewisham and south-east London.”
Hospital workers stood outside Downing Street wearing uniforms and stethoscopes, and holding banners and placards.
Dr John O’Donohue, a consultant at Lewisham Hospital said that GPs and doctors in the borough have rejected Kershaw’s recommendations.
“[The proposals don’t] have support from GPs. I’ve got a petition here from 360 GPs. Over 100 are from Lewisham, and we have support from GPs outside of Lewisham. All the leaders from the clinical care group have signed it and I think that’s really powerful. For him [the TSA] to say that there is GP engagement is a travesty.
“There is no sound clinical evidence behind this. We have rubbished all the evidence in detail. The study he did was rushed.
Alexander slammed the consultation process and described herself as “totally appalled” at what she argues is a “difficult process”.
The TSA have been calling for residents of Lewisham to fill out consultation forms, in order to guage how the public has received the six recommendations.
Alexander said: “One of my big concerns at the moment is the complexity of the consultation process and how difficult it is for people to actually respond and make their views known. I went online with my husband to actually complete the consultation form, and was horrified, genuinely horrified, about how difficult it was. I just feel that the whole thing has been set up in way to actually stop people making their views known.
“What I’m planning to do is to write to the secretary of state to actually make it clear to him that, in my view, this consultation is a sham consultation.”
Just six days remain until the consultation period ends. Saturday will see stalls being set up around Lewisham to help residents fill out their forms. To send in your views to the TSA, click here.