In a major new development, Greenwich Council has finally rejected the proposed closure of Lewisham A&E – a move that campaigners have been calling for since consultation began.
However, they remain ambiguous regarding recommendation to reduce maternity services, saying that “clinicians themselves appear divided” on the issue.
A detailed statement was released on the council website yesterday, which said the local authority “cannot support the closure of the A&E unit at Lewisham.”
The document highlighted council concerns about transportation times to different hospitals, an issue repeatedly brought up by area residents at public meetings.
The document said: “We are worried about the claims being made in the draft report about ‘blue light’ travel times to reach an appropriate A&E service. This is an issue of serious concern for local people, particularly for those who rely on public transport.”
The council expressed their concern as to how standards of patient care could be affected, describing their position as “nervous” about population projection figures which “in recent years have been significantly under-estimated by the Office of National Statistics and the Greater London Authority.”
Although the council expressed concern that reducing maternity services could “disproportionately affect vulnerable and disadvantaged communities”, no clear line was taken as to whether or not proposals for the closure of Lewisham’s maternity unit should be implemented.
ELL has joined the campaign to save both the A&E and maternity units from closure. We have presented both sides of the debate and will report on all developments until the consultation period ends on December 13.