Lewisham and Woolwich hospitals consultation 'mockery' after leader appointed

News Shopper: Lewisham Hospital A&E facilities under threat of closure Lewisham Hospital A&E facilities under threat of closure

THE appointment of a leader for the proposed merging of Lewisham and Woolwich hospital trusts “makes a mockery” of the public consultation process, say councillors.

Chief Executive of Lewisham NHS Trust Tim Higginson was yesterday asked to head a new controversial joint organisation - which is only in its draft report stage - and comes days after a public consultation was launched over the issue.

It follows South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) administrator Matthew Kershaw’s recommendations that Lewisham Healthcare and Queen Elizabeth Woolwich hospitals join together – to massive public backlash.

Under the proposals, Lewisham Hospital could lose its newly-refurbished A&E – which currently sees around 120,000 patients a year – and its maternity services where around 4,000 babies were delivered last year.

News Shopper: The newly-installed birthing suite at Lewisham Hospital is under threat

Mr Higginson accepted the new role offered by Chief Executive of London’s Strategic Health Authority Ruth Carnall despite the ongoing public consultation which runs until December 13.

Lewisham Healthcare stresses that Mr Higginson's main role will remain as Chief Executive of the trust and he will continue to argue for changes to the recommendations for the hospital.

Leader of the Lewisham Labour Group Councillor Alan Hall said: "This smacks of a full steam ahead approach and makes a mockery out of any consultations. This is supposed to be a draft report but it is being implemented immediately."

While Liberal Democrat Cllr Chris Maines added: "Thousands of Lewisham residents have been angered by proposals that our hospital absorbs vast PFI debts and closes modern facilities because of the failures of the neighbouring Trust.

“This announcement by Health managers that they have already sorted out the top jobs, shows their arrogance and complete disregard of public opinion."

Announcing the appointment, Ruth Carnall, NHS London Chief Executive said: “This appointment will ensure there is clear leadership in place to do the planning and preparation ahead of the final report and subsequent final decision by the Secretary of State next year."

She added that if the recommendation gets the go-ahead, a lot of essential groundwork would already be in place for the new organisation.

Chair for Lewisham Healthcare Elizabeth Butler said: "It is important to stress that Tim Higginson will continue to be Chief Executive of Lewisham Healthcare, and this remains his substantive role. 

"He will spend the majority of his time on Lewisham Healthcare business, and there is a clear separation between this and his other role as CEO designate. 

"Most importantly, the role will not affect his ability to continue to argue for changes to the TSA’s recommendations which are in Lewisham’s interests."
 

On the proposals for Lewisham Healthcare to work with Queen Elizabeth, Ms Butler added:"This announcement does not anticipate the Secretary of State’s decision on the TSA’s recommendations, but it does make sense to carry out early preparatory work, and this is what Tim Higginson has been asked to lead.
 

"We think that coming together with Queen Elizabeth would help us to meet the financial challenges which the TSA has identified. 

"However, we have said that we want to plan for the future, carrying out active engagement with patients, GPs, staff, local people and partners to ensure any plans are sustainable."
 

Get involved

Hundreds turned out to a Save Lewisham Hospital's A&E public meeting meeting last week (Nov 8) and are rallying support for a human chain around the threatened hospital on November 24 at 3pm.

Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander launched an online petition against the proposed closures which currently stands at 11,533. To add your name, visit ipetitions.com/petition/lewisham-hospital/signatures

The online consultation about Mr Kershaw's proposals closes midnight on December 13. Visit tsa.nhs.uk to have your say.

Upcoming public meetings about the future of NHS in Lewisham and Greenwich

November 15 SLHT administrator Matthew Kershaw will be at a meeting about the report at Woolwich Town Hall at 6.30pm.

November 16 Goldsmith’s College public meeting 10am to 12pm

November 19 Woolwich Town Hall 7pm to 9pm

November 21 Greenwich Forum, 10am to 12pm

November 26 St Andrew’s Centre, Brockley, 2pm to 4pm

November 26 St Mary's Community Centre, Eltham, 7pm to 9pm

December 3 Charlton Football Club, 7pm to 9pm

 

Statistics about Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and Maternity Centre

  • Lewisham A&E currently sees around 120,000 patients a year. The proposed 24/7 Urgent Care Centre would only see around 75 per cent of these people.
  • Top three A&E admissions between Nov 2011 – Oct 2012 were: Injury/Wound: 25,644, Respiratory: 12,006, Gastro-intestinal: 8,877

Maternity Centre

  • There were 3,973 births between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012
  • There have been 878 births in the Birth Centre over the past 12 months (1st November 11 – 31st October 2012)
  • There have been 2,013 births in total since the Birth Centre opened in May 2012 (as of 31st October 2012)
  • An average of 73 babies per month are delivered in the Birth Centre

News Shopper: Lewisham Hospital maternity services are under threat

Comments (6)

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2:52pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Max Calò says...

It's a shockingly arrogant move.

It's also rather improper that the Chief Executive of Lewisham Hospital is put into a position that creates a conflict of interests giving him a reward for the wrecking of his own hospital.

A further point. In your article you say that about 75% of the people seen at Lewisham A&E would be served by the new Urgent Care Centre.
This would already be bad but in reality the report says that it's 77% of the sum of A&E and Emergency and those are two different departments and Emergency receives patients from A&E but probably also from other hospital departments as well as other referrals.
And since Urgent Care is non admittal it's obvious that about 100% of those that currently arrive at A&E without a referral and using their own transport instead of using an ambulance will be treated elsewhere (after longer travel and longer wait).
It's a shockingly arrogant move. It's also rather improper that the Chief Executive of Lewisham Hospital is put into a position that creates a conflict of interests giving him a reward for the wrecking of his own hospital. A further point. In your article you say that about 75% of the people seen at Lewisham A&E would be served by the new Urgent Care Centre. This would already be bad but in reality the report says that it's 77% of the sum of A&E and Emergency and those are two different departments and Emergency receives patients from A&E but probably also from other hospital departments as well as other referrals. And since Urgent Care is non admittal it's obvious that about 100% of those that currently arrive at A&E without a referral and using their own transport instead of using an ambulance will be treated elsewhere (after longer travel and longer wait). Max Calò

8:22am Wed 14 Nov 12

Elthamian says...

When the Queen Elizabeth closed for a day in July my father (88) was taken to Lewisham. It was a thursday lunchtime and it took the ambulance half an hour to get there from Eltham. How long is it going to take to get from Lewisham to Woolwich? The QEH is already stretched to capacity. They say minor casulties will go to the polyclinic. This does not yet exist. The site in Eltham is a derelict and boarded up building. Lives will be lost if these plans go ahead
When the Queen Elizabeth closed for a day in July my father (88) was taken to Lewisham. It was a thursday lunchtime and it took the ambulance half an hour to get there from Eltham. How long is it going to take to get from Lewisham to Woolwich? The QEH is already stretched to capacity. They say minor casulties will go to the polyclinic. This does not yet exist. The site in Eltham is a derelict and boarded up building. Lives will be lost if these plans go ahead Elthamian

2:17pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Margaret Smith says...

The Main Cause of this Agenda is the PFI policy under the last Government in which £210 Million pound cost to build Bromley and Woolwich hospitals has seen the loan shark who built them so far get paid back £500 Million in rent and service charges the main reason the trust has gone bust. By the end of the Lease the Sharks would have been paid a staggering £2 Billion in rent and charges and guess what? we will as tax payers own nothing. How is that great value? People before profit are Launching a campaign to outlaw PFI it is wrotton and a total abuse of tax payers money in which we will see our tax money used to pay private business to run our NHS for profit. It stinks. George Hallam for People before Profit was great at the consultation, i hoppe every one will be on the Demo at 2pm on Saturday 24 November, if we do not come out to support the NHS who will? do not leave for others. YOU NEED TO MAKE A STAND>
The Main Cause of this Agenda is the PFI policy under the last Government in which £210 Million pound cost to build Bromley and Woolwich hospitals has seen the loan shark who built them so far get paid back £500 Million in rent and service charges the main reason the trust has gone bust. By the end of the Lease the Sharks would have been paid a staggering £2 Billion in rent and charges and guess what? we will as tax payers own nothing. How is that great value? People before profit are Launching a campaign to outlaw PFI it is wrotton and a total abuse of tax payers money in which we will see our tax money used to pay private business to run our NHS for profit. It stinks. George Hallam for People before Profit was great at the consultation, i hoppe every one will be on the Demo at 2pm on Saturday 24 November, if we do not come out to support the NHS who will? do not leave for others. YOU NEED TO MAKE A STAND> Margaret Smith

3:42pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Bevangirl says...

Of course lives will be lost but do the powers that be care! No, of course not. It's all about money, not people. God help the Queen Elizabeth if all non urgent patients go to their A & E. I went there with a friend last summer and it was full to capacity. And I was assured by the staff that this was not a bad night!!!
Of course lives will be lost but do the powers that be care! No, of course not. It's all about money, not people. God help the Queen Elizabeth if all non urgent patients go to their A & E. I went there with a friend last summer and it was full to capacity. And I was assured by the staff that this was not a bad night!!! Bevangirl

11:07pm Thu 15 Nov 12

treesrgreen says...

This is very worrying news. As much as we all hate having to go to hospital, knowing that there is one close by should we ever need emergency care is reassuring. However if/when Lewisham closes the nearest A&E for Catford/Lewisham and surrounding areas will be the already over-stretched Woolwich or Farnborough.

Lives will be lost, inevitably, caused by the delays in getting a seriously ill person to a hospital further away. The deaths of people will be forever on the hands of the faceless beaurocrats and out of touch government people, who of course will not be suffering hospital cuts wherever they live.

Many decades ago Lewisham A&E saved my mum's life. Sadly nearly 6 years ago Farnborough failed her which ultimately led to her death.

We must try to all pull together and keep Lewisham Hospital fully operational for everybody.
This is very worrying news. As much as we all hate having to go to hospital, knowing that there is one close by should we ever need emergency care is reassuring. However if/when Lewisham closes the nearest A&E for Catford/Lewisham and surrounding areas will be the already over-stretched Woolwich or Farnborough. Lives will be lost, inevitably, caused by the delays in getting a seriously ill person to a hospital further away. The deaths of people will be forever on the hands of the faceless beaurocrats and out of touch government people, who of course will not be suffering hospital cuts wherever they live. Many decades ago Lewisham A&E saved my mum's life. Sadly nearly 6 years ago Farnborough failed her which ultimately led to her death. We must try to all pull together and keep Lewisham Hospital fully operational for everybody. treesrgreen

5:05am Mon 26 Nov 12

MUSICMASTER says...

Closing 30% of London A and E s to sell off hospital sites for housing estates is the action of the criminally insane. Implementing the murderous 'Picture of Health' recommendation by Americans McKinsey who clearly know nothing about healthcare. We need the perpetrators named so we can sue them when our parents and grandparents die needlessly. People have to die so PFI companies can make obscene profits? This is time to tell them the country can't afford it and their profits are killing people so they have to be cancelled due to National Emergency. There are no private A and E 's for all Dave's Mates. You get hit by a car you die no matter how rich you are with no A and E. It is time to drag those responsible from their offices and let them try and get to an A and E with 26 hour waiting list!
Closing 30% of London A and E s to sell off hospital sites for housing estates is the action of the criminally insane. Implementing the murderous 'Picture of Health' recommendation by Americans McKinsey who clearly know nothing about healthcare. We need the perpetrators named so we can sue them when our parents and grandparents die needlessly. People have to die so PFI companies can make obscene profits? This is time to tell them the country can't afford it and their profits are killing people so they have to be cancelled due to National Emergency. There are no private A and E 's for all Dave's Mates. You get hit by a car you die no matter how rich you are with no A and E. It is time to drag those responsible from their offices and let them try and get to an A and E with 26 hour waiting list! MUSICMASTER

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