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Bexley GP warns of Lewisham Hospital consequences

PUBLISHED: 17:44 05 July 2013 | UPDATED: 17:44 05 July 2013

Campaigners outside the High Court before where two judicial reviews into downgrading of services at Lewisham Hospital are being heard. Pic by Simon Way.

Campaigners outside the High Court before where two judicial reviews into downgrading of services at Lewisham Hospital are being heard. Pic by Simon Way.

Archant

A Bexley GP who has supported the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign has warned of the consequences for the borough’s patients should the hospital be downgraded.

Bob Gill, who practices in Welling, says anyone who thinks there will not be a knock-on effect for patients in Bexley is “living on a different planet.”

Two judicial reviews, one brought by SLH and the other by Lewisham Council, ended yesterday (July 4).

Dr Gill said: “I’m seeing a bad situation in London as it is. People aren’t getting assessed properly at hospitals, they’re sent to me and I have to send them back to the hospital.

“Accident and emergency departments aren’t coping as it is and this is an eye-opener into how the situation will deteriorate even further if the changes to Lewisham are pushed through.”

The judicial reviews centred on two points of law - that trust special administrator Matthew Kershaw went outside his remit in including Lewisham in his plans for the financially-crippled South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT); and plans to downgrade Lewisham’s A&E and maternity departments failed four tests when it comes to considering reconfiguration of local health services.

Mr Kershaw was appointed to look into SLHT, which includes Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, the Princess Royal in Orpington and Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich.

However, during the process of his administration Mr Kershaw took into consideration healthcare across the whole of south London, including Lewisham.

Dr Gill added: “I have no idea how further reducing the capacity of hospital beds in south-east London by 400 is going to save 100 lives a year as Jeremy Hunt (the heatlh secretary) claims.

“This hasn’t been substantiated and I’d be very surprised if it turns out to be the case.

“It’s all part of a bigger NHS problem where a successful, financially-stable hospital can be sacrificed to pay off a big PFI debt in a completely different trust.”

The decision into the future of Lewisham Hospital’s services is expected to be developed by judge Mr Justice Silber by the end of the month.

How do you think the downgrading of Lewisham Hospital will affect people in Bexley? Contact the newsroom on 0208 477 3858, email robin.cottle@archant.co.uk or tweet @BexleyTimes.


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