Today the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign held a ‘People’s Commission’ at The Broadway Theatre in Catford. Chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, the event discussed the plans to downgrade the hospital, the likely impact on the people of Lewisham and also the knock on effects for Kent and South East London.
Testimony was given in person and by video by a series of senior clinicians and patients from Lewisham. They spoke of the lack of consultation and the possible consequences for vulnerable people in the borough. Crucially the audience also heard from users of nearby A&Es which are currently nearing capacity, even without the sudden additional burden of 300,000 patients traipsing in from Lewisham. Ironically, when those hospitals get too busy and have to close their doors to traumas and A&E admissions, their ambulances are re-directed to Lewisham.
The Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough (Bromley), along with King’s College and Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich are expected to take up the extra admissions from Lewisham. The Chair of London Ambulance Patients Forum revealed that during this past April at the Princess Royal Hospital, there were 172 occasions where ambulances with patients on board waited for longer than half an hour for admission to A&E; there were 150 occasions in May.
That puts in perspective Jeremy Hunt’s curious and much disputed claim that ambulance journey times from around Lewisham to other local hospitals would increase by only ONE minute.
It is clear that the downgrading of Lewisham Hospital would have a catastrophic impact on our neighbouring casualty units. And Kings A &E for example simply has no room to expand.
The consequences for people with heart conditions or victims of strokes has been discussed at length, but what struck home today was the likely impact on chronic and less time critical patients.
The Kershaw TSA Report which recommended the downgrading of our local hospital will tested at a Judicial Review. This takes place next Tuesday 2nd- Thursday 4th July. To be at the High Court with other local people first thing on the 2nd, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.