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Lewisham Council to take legal advice over A&E decision

Lewisham Council is to speak to its lawyers. Picture: Simon Way/Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust/PA Wire Lewisham Council is to speak to its lawyers. Picture: Simon Way/Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust/PA Wire

Thursday, January 31, 2013
1:34 PM

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of riding roughshod over people in Lewisham after giving the go-ahead to downgrade its hospital’s A&E and maternity services.

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The proposals, which originally included a recommendation to scrap the entire A&E department, were roundly opposed, prompting an active campaign.

Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said the council will now take legal advice before considering their next step.

“The Secretary of State is riding roughshod over the people of Lewisham,” Sir Steve said. “These plans have been roundly rejected by local people, by the staff who work in the hospital and by local GPs.

“The Secretary of State has pressed ahead regardless by downgrading maternity services and emergency services at Lewisham Hospital. But let me be clear, this is not the end of the matter.

“I do not believe that the TSA had the statutory power to make recommendations about Lewisham Hospital and the Secretary of State therefore has no power to implement them.

“I will be talking to our lawyers and we will also of course need to talk to our colleagues at Lewisham Hospital in order to fully understand the implications of Mr Hunt’s statement.”

A Lewisham Hospital spokesman said it would wait on more detail before making further comment but thanked patients, residents, doctors, and politicians for their support.

He said: “We are disappointed today to hear that Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State, has accepted the proposal to downgrade A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital.

“He has proposed Lewisham retains a smaller, limited 24/7 emergency department, and a stand-alone midwife-led birth centre.

“The Trust board response to the consultation was clear that we believe Lewisham needs full emergency and obstetric services.”

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