Jeremy Hunt has today announced to Parliament his plans to accept most of administrator's recommendations for the South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) and neighbouring Lewisham Hospital.
With PFI debts mounting, Hunt has decided the SLHT trust will be dissolved, with each of its three hospitals (comprised of the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich, Queen Mary's in Sidcup and the Princess Royal in Bromley) taken over by a neighbouring hospital trust.
Lewisham's maternity unit will be downgraded, meaning local expectant mothers will be admitted to a maternity-led unit, with more serious and complicated births diverted to neighbouring hospitals, such as King's.
Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxhall, say downgrading maternity services at Lewisham will have an impact on hospitals like St Thomas's, which serves her constituency.
The Secretary of State said he understood the financial rationale for downgrading Lewisham A&E, but in the interests of local patients has imposed some additional clinical safeguards proposed by Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS. Lewisham Hospital will retain its ability to admit patients with less serious conditions, and will continue to have 24/7 senior medical emergency cover, allowing it to remain open as a working A&E department.
Joan Ruddock Joan Ruddock, the Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, says the orginal closure proposals have not gone ahead in full because of the protests. She has called for a fresh consulation, saying today's proposals are "a sham and a shambles and are utterly unacceptable".
Campaigners will soon post a response to the news via their twitter feed @SaveLewishamAE and #lewishambles
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