Trust Special Administrator's Draft Report: A Synopsis

The report, as expected, recommends closing the A & E at a successful NHS trust-Lewisham -in order to force patients to use the indebted Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The administrator process was started because trusts were meant to stand alone financially. Yet the administrator has gone beyond the jurisdiction and suggested a different trust shut its A&E, and set up a walk in centre.

Further to this, the administrator suggests the PFI debt be written off. This is a welcome relief, since it means patients will no longer be punished for political mismanagement under previous Labour and Tory governments. But the PFI debt was the reason given for appointing an administrator. So it begs the question, why conduct such massive a overhaul, if the largest problem is removed?

Lewisham’s midwifery led unit, and state of the art birthing centre will be replaced with an obstetric led unit. Or they will lose obstetrics, and become suitable only for low risk labour- despite lewisham having a population with high prevalence of complicated pregnancies.  Emergency surgery and inpatient children’s services could go.

The report suggests asset-stripping the NHS in Bexley, for the sake of ‘regeneration’. So while services are reduced, the population will increase, when people move into hospital land sold off to private developers.

Services at Queen Mary's, Sidcup, and Princess Royal, Farnborough (Bromley) could be sold off. The NHS could be left ‘holding the baby’ in Queen Elizabeth, Woolwich. Although the administrator suggests certain trusts take over services, private companies will be allowed to bid and could win. If straight-forward care is hived off to private profiteers, the NHS will have no chance of keeping surpluses from that profitable care. At the same time, it has to provide the emergency and intensive care that cherry-picking companies won’t touch.

The NHS has £4 billion pounds in cash reserves. The banks weren’t allowed to fail, why should the patients and workers of south London be sacrificed?

This is an ideological assault on the NHS, which lays the ground to concentrate complicated NHS care at Woolwich, so that all other sites can have care privatised or buildings sold to developers.  And all of this has been caused by unecessary PFI debts that should be re-negotiated.

Lewisham has a population of 250,000 – 50% more than Brighton, and a similar size to Hull.  To destroy its hospital, while it is financially stable and running at close-to capacity, is putting business before people’s safety.

Come to our public meeting on 8 November and demonstrate on 24 November. And click here to oppose the deadly plan.