– Department of Health spokesperson.
"We appreciate that the recommendations for the future of South London Healthcare NHS Trust concern many people from the local community. The NHS is rightly one of our most treasured institutions, so of course people are going to hold strong views about any changes to local services. However, where trusts face long standing problems we have been clear that doing nothing is not an option. It is crucial that patients in South East London have high quality health services that will last. There isn't an easy solution to the problems at South London Healthcare NHS Trust."
Hard as this is to say - Bless Millwall, for moving their match to not clash with the march against hospital cuts in Lewisham
Residents of Lewisham, today you made the staff of Lewisham Hospital very proud to be at the heart of this community. @savelewishamae
Thousands of demonstrators today marched in protest against plans to scrap Lewisham hospital's A&E department and downgrade its maternity ward.
Thousands of protesters have marched against plans to scrap a hospital's A&E department and downgrade its maternity ward be rejected. Under the proposals, Lewisham Hospital would see its emergency department replaced with an "urgent care" ward and its maternity services become a midwife-led unit
– Dr Louise Irvine, local GP
"This decision is crazy and ill thought out. It is a big mistake and carries huge clinical risks of things going wrong for patients but also political risk.
If Jeremy Hunt can close a good local hospital here, he can do it anywhere in the country - nowhere is safe.
This is very much a national issue, there are 60 hospital trusts across the country under threat of bankruptcy, many of them very good hospitals.
We are saying 'look at Lewisham, if we can win then you can win'. And even if we lose, we will keep on fighting, that is the most important thing."
Thousands of protesters marched around Lewisham Hospital this afternoon to demand that the Government withdraw plans to to scrap the hospital's A&E department, and downgrade its maternity ward.
Thousands of protesters marched to demand that plans to scrap Lewisham Hospital's A&E department and downgrade its maternity ward be rejected.
I have been and I have marched and the line of people still marching is amazing. I think half of Lewisham are there. #savelewishamae
Solidarity with thousands marching to Save Lewisham Hospital today! A big boost to the campaign to tell the Tories "Hands off our NHS"
I can't get over how many kids are on this demo! Lots have the date they were delivered at Lewisham on t-shirts & placards. It's wonderful!
Hundreds of protesters are expected at a demonstration later today against proposals to shut the A&E and maternity departments at Lewisham hospital.
If the proposals get the go-ahead Lewisham could be merged with Woolwich's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Campaigners calling for a south London hospital to keep its casualty and maternity units took their fight to the Health Secretary today. In ten days time Jeremy Hunt is expected to make his decision on the future of Lewisham. Paul Brand has more
The Department of Health has reacted to demonstrations against the planned closure of the Accident and Emergency and Maternity units at Lewisham Hospital.
In a statement, they said:
– Department of Health spokesman
"We appreciate that the recommendations for the future of South London Healthcare NHS Trust concernmany people from the local community. We have today accepted a local petition which we will consider.
There isn't an easy solution to the problems. The Secretary of State has received the recommendations from the Trust Special Administrator which he will carefully consider. He will announce his final decision by early February 2013."
Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman has added her voice to the opposition to the closure of Lewisham Hospital's Accident and Emergency and Maternity Units. She said the closure would cause a 45% increase in A&E admissions at King's College Hospital