Two weeks ago more than 10,000 people joined a protest march against the closure of Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity units. Over 30,000 signatures were handed to Downing Street in a petition on Friday and the debate has even reached a national level with high profile figures such as columnist Lucy Mangan voicing support.
Eastlondonlines asked local politicians to share their own views on why Lewisham’s A&E department should not be closed.
Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham
“I, along with every Lewisham Councillor, am opposed to the Special Administrator’s draft proposals for Lewisham Hospital. It is a vital resource that provides high quality healthcare services locally and accessibly. Closing the A&E and maternity departments would have a profound impact on health and social care services in the borough. It is crucial that they remain open.”
John Muldoon, Councillor for Rushey Green and Chair of the Healthier Communities select committee
“The Trust Special Administrator’s proposal for the future of Lewisham Hospital is simply unacceptable. Local representatives have been unable to scrutinise formally any part of this process. I will be doing everything I can to make sure Lewisham Healthier Communities select committee makes its views known to the TSA. My focus, as always, will be to look as what is best for the people of Lewisham and to ensure they are able to access the best possible healthcare locally.”
Vicky Foxcroft, Councillor for Brockley
“These proposals are poorly thought out, unfair and dangerous. Gaining cross-party support at the recent council meeting for Labour’s motion condemning this report shows the strength of feeling against these proposals. Labour in Lewisham will do all it can to fight to save the hospital.”
Mike Harris, Councillor for Lewisham Central
“If you are seriously unwell and sent to Lewisham A&E you are more likely to survive than the national average. This is a good hospital that provides an excellent quality of care. I can’t believe that a few years after a wide-ranging report into healthcare in south-east London said specifically not to close down Lewisham A&E, it is being suggested once again. We must fight these proposals.”
Heidi Alexander, MP for Lewisham East
“With 22,000 people signing an online petition, thousands more signing in person and over 10,000 people joining together at a peaceful demo at the end of November, it is clear that our corner of south-east London is not going to stand for this brutal attack on our local NHS.
“Lewisham Hospital is a busy hospital; its A&E treats 115,000 people every year. Over 4,000 babies are born there annually. Not everything is perfect but it is a valued and necessary part of the health service.”
Dame Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham Deptford
“Over 110, 000 people every year rely on the A&E for their health and well-being. Lives will be put at risk if people have to be sent on to Woolwich after accessing an urgent care centre in Lewisham. Both Lewisham and Woolwich are already full to overflowing. As for maternity services, mothers want to be near home from the early stages of pregnancy to birth and aftercare. With 4,500 babies born each year, no one can say there isn’t a local demand.”
Jim Dowd, MP for Lewisham West and Penge
“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. Robbing Peter to pay Paul never works and I hope that Lewisham residents will unite to show their determination to defend such an important public service. The report shows that more than half of the Lewisham Hospital estate will be ‘disposed of’ under the plans – the evisceration of Lewisham Hospital is completely unacceptable and unfair for the people of Lewisham. Lewisham hospital has been threatened before and we have fought to protect it and won; we will do so again.”