Lewisham Hospital demo

Campaigners fighting against plans to close the A&E and maternity units at Lewisham Hospital are due to hold a final demonstration outside the Department of Health today.

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Final campaign to sway Health Minister's decision

Campaigners for a South London hospital have taken their final demonstration to the doorstep of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

His decision on the future of Lewisham Hospital is expected tomorrow.

Its A&E department and its maternity unit are under threat, because of a financial crisis at a local health care trust, even though Lewisham is not under its control.

This report is from Paul Brand.

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Labour: Lewisham plans are 'dangerous'

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham said plans to close the A&E department at Lewisham Hospital were "taking the NHS into new ground" and were "dangerous" given the pressure on A&E services.

He said:

"When we were in Government we did close some A&Es because sometimes it makes sense to do that, you can save more lives by centralising services on one particular site, every locality cannot necessarily sustain an A&E," he said.

"However what is different about Lewisham is that this A&E is being closed purely on cost grounds.

"To solve financial problems in one trust, the Government are saying they are going to take away the successful A&E department of another. That is taking the NHS into completely new ground.

"I think it is dangerous to do that, given the pressure that we seeing on A&E in London and right across the country."

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Campaigners await Lewisham hospital decision

Our reporter Paul Brand is tweeting from the demonstration in Whitehall.

Last-ditch protest to save Lewisham's A&E department

Campaigners are to hold another demonstration Credit: ITV London

Campaigners are holding a final demonstration at the Department of Health today over plans to close Lewisham Hospital's A&E department. Hundreds are expected to protest over the cuts which would also affect the matertiny unit.

A petition of around 40 thousand signatures will be handed to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Shutting A&E would be act of "almost criminal stupidity"

Shutting a hospital's newly revamped A&Edepartment would be an act of "almost criminal stupidity" a Labour peer said today. At question time in the House of Lords, he said: "The proposal is to close the excellent and much admired accident and emergency hospital at Lewisham...

...and to downgrade its maternity services, notbecause of anything wrong with them but because a Government-appointedadministrator has said that that should be done in order to help theneighbouring National Health Service Trust that has run up £130 million worthof debt."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will decide by Friday whether Lewisham Hospital in south-east London should replace its emergency department with an "urgent care" ward and turn its maternity services into a midwife-led unit.

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