Administrator ‘had no power’ to rule on Lewisham Hospital, council contends

15:21 08 February 2013

Campaigners have promised to fight on. Picture: Simon Way/Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust/PA Wire

Campaigners have promised to fight on. Picture: Simon Way/Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust/PA Wire

Lewisham Council has set up a fund for residents to help in a potential legal battle against the decision to downgrade Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity services.

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock has written letters to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Matthew Kershaw, the administrator who originally proposed closing the department entirely.

The council will give Mr Hunt until February 22 to perform a U-turn on his announcement - or they will seek a judicial review of the decision.

The letter states: “The Council’s firm view, on legal advice, is that the TSA (Mr Kershaw) had no power under the relevant statutory regime, to consider, or to make recommendations to you about, services provided by any NHS body other than South London Healthcare, the Trust to which you appointed him.

“It follows from this that you, in making a decision on the TSA’s recommendations, had no power to make a decision which purports to affect the operation of Lewisham Hospital.”

Lewisham’s legal challenge fund will enable people to contribute towards the costs of any legal action. If a court awards costs to the council or the donations are not required, then the money will be donated to the Children First Lewisham charity.

Sir Steve said: “Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt’s decision to press ahead with the downgrade of Lewisham Hospital’s maternity and emergency services was a kick in the stomach for Lewisham’s community.

“The plans were roundly rejected by local people, by the staff who work in the hospital and by local GPs.

“We will now fight to save Lewisham Hospital by challenging this decision through the courts.”

Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners will hand out leaflets at shopping centres tomorrow, starting at the Riverdale Shopping Centre from 10am.

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