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Date(s) - 29.06.2013


Catford Broadway Theatre


The Lewisham People’s Commission a major inquiry chaired by Michael Mansfield QC and assisted by his team of barristers, will hear from expert witnesses, leading clinicians, GPS, nurses, patients, and community members about government proposals for Lewisham Hospital in the context of wider potentially devastating changes for the NHS.

The Commission panel also includes Baroness Warnock and award-winning poet, author and journalist Blake Morrison. Lord David Owen and Sir Steve Bullock, Lewisham Mayor will address the Commission.

The background:

‘if they can do this in Lewisham they can do it anywhere’ In July 2012 Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley appointed a Trust Special Administrator (TSA), Matthew Kershaw, to take over South London Health Trust (SLHT), deemed to be a financially bankrupt NHS trust. The TSA elected to include Lewisham Healthcare Trust within his remit, despite the fact that it was a separate Trust.

Lewisham Hospital is a clinically and financially successful district general hospital named as one of the CHKS 40 Top Hospitals for the fifth year running, one of only four Trusts in London to gain this award.

On 26 January 2013 25,000 Lewisham residents marched against the threatened closure of Lewisham’s highly regarded, successful, and newly refurbished A&E, maternity, children’s and acute services.

On 31 January 2013 the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt announced that he was accepting all of the Trust Special Adminstrator’s proposals for Lewisham with the addition of three confusing and ill-thought out exceptions: a severely downgraded A&E with no acute service backup, generally regarded as a piece of political spin; a midwife led birth unit and walk-in paediatric unit – all to replace highly clinically effective full services for the deprived community of Lewisham.

The decisions used demonstrably flawed models of patient flow, poor financial information, and poorly researched arguments that closure of Lewisham Hospital would ‘save 100 lives’.

The need for a People’s Commission

Expert witnesses such as Professor Colin Leys (author of The Plot against the NHS) and Professor Alysson Pollock will give evidence about the rapid increase in marketisation of services and the role of PFI debt. Both of these areas have a potential impact on the fate of Lewisham Hospital. Leading clinicians, GPS, nurses, patients, and community members will give graphic evidence about the impact of the closures on the community’s lives and health.

Judicial review – a week of Justice for Lewisham The Commission on 29 June comes at the beginning of a week of Justice for Lewisham. Two Judicial Reviews from the Campaign and Lewisham Council are being heard in the High Court, July 2 – 4.

The campaign is urgently raising funds to meet our £20,000 costs.

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