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Boroughs unite to clamp down on cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:34 26 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:33 25 August 2010

NEIGHBOURING boroughs have joined in the campaign to halt health cuts.

NEIGHBOURING boroughs have joined in the campaign to halt health cuts.

Protesters against proposals by A Picture of Health (APOH) to cut services at University Hospital, Lewisham, are taking to the streets this Saturday at 11am outside All Saints Church, Blackheath.

The route, organised by Greenwich and Lewisham Pensioners' Forums, will take protesters along Belmont Hill to Lewisham Hospital via the High Street.

This follows a Bexley march where 2,000 worried residents and politicians said no to the axing of Queen Mary's Sidcup's emergency and maternity units, on

March 1.

Under APOH's plans the University Hospital could lose its Accident and Emergency, acute surgery, specialist maternity and award-winning children's departments.

The Mayor of Lewisham, Steve Bullock, has personally spoken against the proposals.

He has written to every household in his borough to encourage participation in the consultation.

He said: "I am not telling people what they should say in response to this consultation.

"However, I am not persuaded that any of the proposals, as they stand, will meet the NHS objectives of ensuring higher quality care and better services.

"I also believe that Lewisham residents look to Kings' and St Thomas' as their natural alternatives, rather than hospitals in Sidcup or Farnborough.

"This review does not consider these key inner London links."

His comments follow a Lewisham council motion backed by all parties which opposed APOH's options.

The motion read: "All the Picture of Health proposals are totally reliant on more emergency ambulances and a considerable increase in travel by patients and their families around the already congested south-east London area."

Saturday's march is due to be attended by members of Lewisham Trades Council, the National Union of Teachers, and Keep Our NHS Public.

Frances Hook, chair of Keep Our NHS Public and Greenwich Pensioners' Forum, said her members are determined to fight APOH's plans by judicial review.

A spokesman for APOH said he was aware of the march and was still trying to make contact with its organisers.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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