PETITIONS containing thousands of signatures from patients, supporters, doctors and health professionals against the closure of Lewisham Hospital A&E have been handed in at Downing Street today.
One petition alone, organised by Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander, has around 40,000 signatures online and in hard copy form.
A document from the doctors of Lewisham, both in the hospital and local GPs has 319 signatures so far, while 651 GPs and other healthcare workers across South East London, including neighbouring boroughs, have signed a third petition.
Six Lewisham consultants and GPs released a statement today, saying: "We, doctors in Lewisham, have grave concerns about the proposal to downgrade emergency services at Lewisham Hospital made by the Trust Special Administrator (TSA) for South London Healthcare NHS Trust.
"Lewisham Hospital is a solvent, successful organisation delivering high-quality care. Extraordinarily, the TSA has proposed that, due to problems at the neighbouring Trust, Lewisham’s Accident and Emergency Department should close for admissions, and maternity services may be lost.
"Lewisham contains some of the most deprived wards in England. Our new £12m A&E department was opened this year in response to the increased need for emergency services. The TSA claims a 30% reduction in hospital care could be produced by providing care in the community, but there is simply no clinical evidence to back this up.
"Emergency and maternity services could not be provided by other hospitals without risking our patients' safety and quality of care.
"This is the first time the unsustainable provider regime has been used in the NHS, and yet it is a sustainable provider which stands to lose most. These proposals are opposed by the public and GPs of Lewisham, will harm patient choice, and are based on unsound clinical evidence. They should be rejected by the Secretary of State."