LEWISHAM Hospital campaigners celebrated yesterday after a "positive" meeting with the Mayor of London where they felt they were listened to for the first time.
It follows a raucous ‘people’s question time’ in Catford where Boris Johnson was booed and branded a “coward” after refusing to back the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign.
A team of eight – including four Lewisham Hospital consultants and Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock – met Mr Johnson to present the “intellectual” case for stopping services being downgraded.
They had previously been told the mayor might pop in to the City Hall meeting but he showed for 45 minutes and promised to discuss their concerns with the Health Secretary.
Speaking after the meeting, chair of Lewisham’s Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Helen Tattersfield told News Shopper: “It was very encouraging. It is nice to be listened to.
“We haven’t felt listened to at any other venue.”
Save Lewisham Hospital campaigner Jos Bell added: “Boris said he wanted the intellectual argument and we have that for him.”
The group presented the Mayor with an information pack to show financial flaws in the TSA’s report over the hospital as well as picking apart the claim that proposed changes would save 100 lives.
Director of children and young people’s services at Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust Dr Tony O’ Sullivan said: “I thought it was very positive, the mayor and the deputy mayor gave it a serious hearing.
“They asked intelligent questions and listened to our replies.”
Director of speciality medicine at Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust Dr John Miell added: “The mayor clearly understands his responsibilities for health equality in the poorer boroughs of London and he is committed to ensuring safe and good quality clinical care throughout London.
“He clearly understood the financial flaws in the TSA.”
Mr Johnson says he will lobby government over the issue and will meet Jeremy Hunt this week following the “productive” meeting.
The mayor said: “We’ve had a productive meeting and I was pleased to have the opportunity to hear the views of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign.
“I will continue to lobby government and I will do so again when meeting with the Secretary of State later this week.
“I will convey these very difficult issues, as well as seeking assurances, as I have done many times already, that any changes to services at Lewisham Hospital will improve healthcare locally and that clinical outcomes will not be affected – these must be protected.”
The meeting came after a national lobbying of Parliament – spearheaded by Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign – over legislation campaigners fear will fully privatise NHS.
Speakers against Section 75 secondary legislation, which follows Health and Social Care Act, included Heidi Alexander MP, Shadow Health Minister Lord Philip Hunt and Caroline Lucas MP.
If driven through, protesters say the changes make NHS provision open to competition, leading to a splintering of services and loss of income for hospitals.
They urged residents to lobby Tory and Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and crossbencher Lords over the issue before changes are made in the next couple of weeks.