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Department of Health appeals Lewisham Hospital decision

PUBLISHED: 09:27 22 August 2013 | UPDATED: 12:44 22 August 2013

Save Lewisham Hospital campaigned tirelessly to stop the downgrading of services

Save Lewisham Hospital campaigned tirelessly to stop the downgrading of services

Archant

The Department of Health made an 11th hour decision to appeal the High Court decision to overturn the downgrading of services at Lewisham Hospital.

Yesterday’s deadline was almost up when Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt made his decision.

It was announced last October that Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity wards would be downgraded in plans to dismantle the financially-stricken South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) - comprised of Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, the Princess Royal in Bromley and Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich.

High Court judge Mr Justice Silber decided Matthew Kershaw, the administrator brought in to oversee the break up of SLHT, acted outside his remit in including an entirely seperate hospital, Lewisham, in his plans for the failing trust.

If the A&E department was downgraded it would leave just two blue light emergency rooms covering four London boroughs with a population of over a million people - Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham.

A three-day High Court case was heard from July 2 to July 4 and Mr Justice Silber announced he would overturn the original decision on July 31.

An online petition, signed by more than 16,000 people, had been urging Mr Hunt not to appeal, but Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners and Lewisham Council face a further battle on their hands.

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