I won’t go into the details of the campaign to save services at Lewisham Hospital. You can read about it at the campaign’s website here. Just two comments.
We have a National Health Service. Most people value that highly. Yet in this national service, a financial problem in the south east London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich (where there are 5 Conservative MPs) has led to a proposal to close services not in those areas but at a financially stable and highly-popular hospital in neighbouring Lewisham (3 Labour MPs, no Conservatives). The hospital has just been revamped at a cost of £12 millions.
There has been a public consultation. There were more than 8,000 responses. The overwhelming majority of them opposed the proposals (in addition to the 25,000 people who signed a petition and the tens of thousands who have marched to protest). One might almost say that this was the Big Society in action.
Yet, after all this, the man in charge of the proposed changes, special administrator Matthew Kershaw, refused to reconsider. He said that none of the objectors had come up with an alternative approach.
Matthew, they did offer an alternative. It was: DON’T DO IT!
The Government will decide shortly whether to accept Mr Kershaw’s recommendations.