Lewisham mayor threatens legal fight over Lewisham A&E

Sir Steve Bullock. Pic: Mercedes Amezola

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock said he would not let plans to close Lewisham Hospital go ahead this week without a fight.

At a meeting at Goldsmiths on Tuesday, organised by the Goldsmiths’ Labour Party,  he said:  “If Jeremy Hunt goes forward with the decision of closing the hospital on Thursday morning, I’ll be calling the lawyers on Thursday afternoon.”

He added that the threat to the hospital, which has been at the centre of national protest  is, “personal” because: “They are trying to close my hospital.”

Sir Steve claimed: “the only reason why the Government suggests it’s better to save the Queen Elizabeth instead of the Lewisham A&E is because the Lewisham site is more expensive.

“If the Government gets away with what is being suggested in Lewisham then other hospitals will go after. They are trying to set a precedent.”

However, he said,  “I have a good instinct that Hunt is going to listen to Lewisham council’s recommendations and  pass the problem to us.”

The Council have suggested that Lewisham Hospital and Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital should be allowed to decide for themselves how to share services so that neither of the hospitals has to be closed down.

Secretary for Health, Jeremy Hunt, is set to announce his decision on Lewisham Hospital before Friday, February 1. The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign will stage a rally to coincide with the announcement.

During the meeting, Sir Steve discussed other topics such as training apprenticeships, community buildings and budget cuts.

He said: “We are already thinking what will we be doing in 2015. Housing will be the biggest issue in the next election.

“The living wage is an issue that has to be tackled. Lewisham spends almost £5 million a year to guarantee the living wage to people in public sectors.”

When asked about the impact of budget cuts on the borough, Sir Steve commented: “Labour councils have also made cuts, but we are trying to be imaginative so that it has less effect on the community. We support community based organisations in Lewisham.”

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