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Lewisham A&E to downgrade

1st February 2013

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that the Accident & Emergency Department at Lewisham Hospital is to be downsized.


Despite protests about the plans to downsize the department and replace the maternity unit with a midwife-led centre, Mr Hunt said the decision was "in the interest" of people who lived in the area.

He said: "I respect and recognise the sense of unfairness people feel because their hospital has been caught up in the financial problems of its neighbour."

"However, solving the financial crisis next door is also in the interest of the people of Lewisham because they too depend on the services which are currently part of South London Healthcare Trust."

The South London Healthcare Trust, which is the hospital's neighbour, has debts of £150 million.

The trust's special administrator Matthew Kershaw came up with seven proposals to tackle the debt, of which Mr Hunt agreed on six.

Mr Hunt said the seventh proposal, which called for the A&E department to become an urgent care centre, should be amended.

He said up to 75% of people who attended Lewisham's A&E department would be able to visit a "new, smaller service" there.

Joan Ruddock, Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, said: "Today's proposals are a sham and a shambles and unacceptable to those who represent people in Lewisham." 

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