Wednesday, 5 December 2012


This aim of this page is to encourage all south east London residents to respond to the consultation on the proposed changes to Lewisham Hospital.

This is an unofficial blog site set up by a Lewisham resident strongly opposed to the proposals. The official Save Lewisham Hospital campaign website ( has lots more detailed information on the report, the consultation and how you can get involved.

Below is a very brief overview of the consultation and the changes that are being proposed - if you want to help save Lewisham Hospital but aren't 100% on what the issues are, please take 5 minutes to read  the below...


In order to help Save Lewisham Hospital, it's vital that everyone RESPONDS TO THE CONSULTATION! Even if you've come to all the meetings, marched at the protest and signed the petition, your voice won't truly be heard unless you respond to the consultation.

The official petition has been signed by over 22,000 people but this only counts as ONE response!

The online response form consists of several questions on the recommendations in the report with multiple choice answers (strongly agree, agree etc). There is the option to add comments but this is not compulsory. If you want to respond, but don't have time to wade through the jargon of the report, please read Save Lewisham Hospital's excellent guide to responding to the consultation. If you use this, it should take no more than 5 minutes.
  • Click here to read the draft report, which includes the proposals about Lewisham Hospital.
  • Click here to respond to the consultation via the online response form.


The below is intended to be a very brief summary of the issues surrounding the closure of Lewisham Hospital A&E and other services. It's not intended to be patronising, just simple and clear for anyone who's not clear on what the issues are and want to know the essentials. I'm not an expert in any way, shape or form, just someone keen to save Lewisham Hospital!!

What's happening at Lewisham Hospital?


It all boils down to the South London Healthcare Trust. This is a group of three hospitals: Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough and Queen Mary's in Sidcup. The Trust is in millions of pounds of debt. Lewisham Hospital is not part of the Trust and is not in debt.


A man called Matthew Kershaw has been given the responsibility of solving the problem of the Trust's debt. His job title is Trust Special Administrator (TSA). He has written a report detailing how he proposes to clear this debt which is currently in draft form (the draft report). The public has until 13 December to give their views on the proposals in this report.


The report is long, vaguely worded and deliberately difficult to read. In terms of the proposals relating to Lewisham Hospital, the key points that the report is proposing are:

- To close Lewisham A&E and replace it with an 'urgent care centre'. This would only treat minor ailments such as: 
  • X-rays and other tests
  • Minor fractures 
  • Minor ear, nose, throat and eye infections
This centre would only treat injuries and illness that do not require a stay in hospital. Patients with more serious ailments would no longer be able to be treated at Lewisham Hospital.

- To close Lewisham's children's wards, intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency and complex surgery unit. The report also suggests the possible closure of Lewisham's maternity services, which sees over 4000 births a year.

- To sell off 60% of the hospital's buildings to developers. 


Once the consultation closes on the 13 December, Matthew Kershaw will put together a final report, which he will give to the secretary of state Jeremy Hunt. Jeremy Hunt will then make a final decision on the proposals by 1 February. His decision on this cannot be appealed.


The proposals in the report are based on incorrect figures and unsubstantiated assumptions. It is clear that Matthew Kershaw has not fully considered the healthcare implications of his proposals. There are so many things wrong with the proposals, it's hard to know where to begin, but below are some of the main objections that have been raised:

    - A&E closures
  • The closure of the A&E would mean that the 750,000 residents of the borough of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley will all have to share one A&E (Queen Elizabeth) which is already struggling with patient numbers. The populations of these boroughs is also growing. 
  • The report claims that the A&E is not closing; just becoming a urgent care centre. This is not true. What they are proposing is a closure.
  • The report does not address the extra people that would choose to go to King's College Hospital for A&E services. There has been no research done into how King's would cope with this. The TSA says this will be addressed at a later date (when the public no longer have a say).
  • The report states that 77% of people could still be treated at Lewisham's proposed urgent care centre. This is a highly disputed figure and one that even the people behind the report aren't fully sure about. This figure does not take into account that even if people could have been treated at the urgent care centre, they may still choose to travel to the nearest A&E (e.g. Kings), therefore still placing pressure on those services. And what about the other 23%??
  • The Lewisham Healthcare Trust provided this 77% figure. The Lewisham Healthcare Trust has stated that they do not support the report's proposal.

    - Travel times
  • The closure of key services at Lewisham Hospital will mean that residents - the sick, the elderly, the mentally ill - will have to travel much further to an unfamiliar area to access services they would have previously accessed at Lewisham.
  • A report by Deloitte, conducted on behalf of the TSA, bases its travel estimates on there being no traffic (seriously!). Travel access to Queen Elizabeth is particularly poor.

    - Medical experts say NO
  • The medical professionals of south east London are strongly opposed to these proposals. You can read their views on the Save Lewisham Hospital website.

There's SO much more that could be said, but this is meant to be a brief summary so I'll stop there. As stated, the Save Lewisham Hospital website has loads more information if you want to find out more.

We should be very clear: if these proposals go ahead, it will not be long until Lewisham Hospital closes altogether.

This is not a Lewisham problem. This is a problem for the whole of south east London. If you don't live in Lewisham, think about the last time you waited all night in A&E to be seen by a doctor. Now imagine how much worse that wait will be when your local hospital is having to deal extra patients that would have gone to Lewisham.

The consultation ends on 13 December. Please please please take 5 minutes out of your day and respond. The Save Lewisham Hospital guide means that it doesn't have to be an arduous process. This is the only opportunity we will have to have our say - make sure you use it!!!

Thank you!

Shannon (born and raised in Lewisham!)

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