Lewisham Hospital march: Organisers claim 15,000 protesters braved the rain

Lewisham Hospital march: Organisers claim 15,000 protesters braved the rain

Lewisham Hospital march: Organisers claim 15,000 protesters braved the rain

Lewisham Hospital march: Organisers claim 15,000 protesters braved the rain

Lewisham Hospital march: Organisers claim 15,000 protesters braved the rain

First published in Lewisham News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

ORGANISERS claim a phenomenal 15,000 protesters braved driving rain to march against the proposed closure of Lewisham A&E on Saturday.

Despite the cold, the demo saw people from every part of Lewisham’s diverse community turn out to rain anger down upon the Trust Special Administrator's planned cuts.

If pushed through, Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity services could be axed and residents would have to travel to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich for the majority of emergency care.


Click here to see a gallery of pictures from the Lewisham Hospital A&E protest


Among the thousands was Sarah Upton whose nine-year-old daughter suffers from cerebral palsy. She says those responsible for the proposals should be "sectioned".

The 35-year-old, who lives in Catford, said: "She's used that hospital three times in two months when she's stopped breathing.

"If that happened and I phoned the ambulance we might not make it all the way to Woolwich.

"The person who proposed these plans needs to be sectioned. "They need hospital treatment."

The march was organised by Save Lewisham A&E - an umbrella group of campaigners such as NHS Public - which estimated the staggering number.

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NHS Public spokeswoman Frances Hook said: "It was very lively. It was across the generations - teenagers, youngsters, parents. And ethnically it was a representation of the borough. It was completely fantastic.

"Lots of traffic must have been stuck for hours. There was complete support - bus drivers had their thumbs up."

She went on to say that the march has galvanised the cause and campaigners will now look at the Trust Special Administrator's (TSA) documents to prove that the figures are not correct.

UNISON Branch Secretary at Lewisham Hospital Conroy Lawrence added: "We are overwhelmed by the response of the local community, that in the cold and incessant rain over 10,000 people from all parts of the community would rally to defend the hospital, is truly inspiring to the staff at the hospital.

"This campaign has the full support of the medical, nursing and professional staff and their unions and with the support of the local community we are unstoppable.

"The people have spoken and the politicians and bureaucrats would do well to listen."

A human chain around the threatened hospital was originally planned but was scrapped so as not to disrupt services at the hospital. After the march, people grouped at the back of the hospital where speeches were held.

Speaking about the event, a Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust spokesman said: "We welcome the support of local people, who share our pride in the Trust’s high quality services.

"We recognise that the NHS faces pressures, and hard decisions will be made. However, we do not feel that a prescriptive approach to service change is right."

He added that the trust will submit a formal response to the public consultation and encourages staff, patients and local people to get involved.

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

Comments (3)

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3:21pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Margaret Smith says...

Sometimes you are so proud of your fellow Lewisham Residents, As i joined the March with my People before Profit banner it seemed only a view hundred had braved the rain, as i moved into position and started marching, a wonderful site was to be seen, Union Banners, Church Congregations, mums and Prams, Children on dads Shoulders, The Fireman, having to fight there own cuts campaign, Tusc, and endless line of people, some patients still in bandages, pensioners so old they could remember the start of the NHS, and banner upon banner reminding people that it was Labour PFI policy that has lead to the health trust going bust. as i got to the Hospital the Crowd was so large i could see no start and no end, a sea of umbrellas and banners like a festival of kites. The numbers were so huge, i felt i was not on a local borough march, but a national one. it seemede the entitre population of Lewisham was on the March. The site must have put the fear of God in the Goverment. Middle England is on the march. It may be the National media Chose to ignore the size in such terrible weather. But Lewisham and what is Going on in our Borough is being watched across the world. Thanks People Before Profit for working with save our Hospital and for getting people out. Lewisham on the March. Something we all should be proud of, even the increasing numbers of people who only think about themselves and care little;e for any thing or any one.
Sometimes you are so proud of your fellow Lewisham Residents, As i joined the March with my People before Profit banner it seemed only a view hundred had braved the rain, as i moved into position and started marching, a wonderful site was to be seen, Union Banners, Church Congregations, mums and Prams, Children on dads Shoulders, The Fireman, having to fight there own cuts campaign, Tusc, and endless line of people, some patients still in bandages, pensioners so old they could remember the start of the NHS, and banner upon banner reminding people that it was Labour PFI policy that has lead to the health trust going bust. as i got to the Hospital the Crowd was so large i could see no start and no end, a sea of umbrellas and banners like a festival of kites. The numbers were so huge, i felt i was not on a local borough march, but a national one. it seemede the entitre population of Lewisham was on the March. The site must have put the fear of God in the Goverment. Middle England is on the march. It may be the National media Chose to ignore the size in such terrible weather. But Lewisham and what is Going on in our Borough is being watched across the world. Thanks People Before Profit for working with save our Hospital and for getting people out. Lewisham on the March. Something we all should be proud of, even the increasing numbers of people who only think about themselves and care little;e for any thing or any one. Margaret Smith
  • Score: 0

3:54pm Mon 26 Nov 12

auntyval says...

They CANNOT start to close down Lewisham Hospital. I was born in there, had my first child there and worked there until I retired. It is in the centre of a large community and it is very worrying to think of its brand new A&E being closed. Once that goes, what next? It is not even part of South London Healthcare so why should this be happening?
They CANNOT start to close down Lewisham Hospital. I was born in there, had my first child there and worked there until I retired. It is in the centre of a large community and it is very worrying to think of its brand new A&E being closed. Once that goes, what next? It is not even part of South London Healthcare so why should this be happening? auntyval
  • Score: 0

9:15pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Marty1979 says...

Unfortunately the decision has probably already been made
Unfortunately the decision has probably already been made Marty1979
  • Score: 0

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