Lewisham A&E downgraded

An A&E department and maternity services at a major hospital will be downgraded, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs, just days after more than 25,000 people protested against the plans.

Lewisham Hospital pays for neighbour's collapse

The changes which will see the A&E department and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital in south east London both downgraded are part of a shake-up of services in the capital after the financial collapse of a neighbouring NHS trust.

The overhaul was proposed by a special administrator in response to nearby South London Healthcare NHS Trust going into administration after it started losing around £1.3m a week.

'High-performing' Lewisham Hospital has been affected by the financial collapse of a neighbouring NHS Trust. Credit: ITV News

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected a plan to replace Lewisham's A&E unit with an "urgent care" centre, but accepted the recommendations of a further review by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh that Lewisham should have a "smaller A&E service with 24/7 senior emergency medical cover."

The unit will continue to see up to three-quarters of those currently attending Lewisham A&E.

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A&E closure could set 'dangerous precedent' for NHS

Jeremy Hunt is expected will make an announcement later today about the future of Lewisham Hospital's emergency department and maternity services.

The Health Secretary will make a statement on whether the south London hospital's emergency department should be replaced with an 'urgent care' ward and whether its maternity services into a midwife-led unit - proposals that have prompted demonstrations and petitions.

Protesters taking part in a demonstration against the possible closure of their local A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The closures are part of a radical overhaul proposed by a special administrator in response to nearby South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT) going into administration after it started losing around £1.3 million a week.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham warns that if the proposals are implemented it could set a "dangerous precedent" for the rest of the NHS.

"If that were to be approved, I believe it would set a dangerous precedent to the NHS when the NHS is taking out A&E capacity on the basis of finance, not on care and quality, and that is a line over which the Government must not cross," he said.

Labour: A&Es shouldn't be shut over NHS Trust's debts

As many as 30 A&E departments face closure or changes to their hours, as the government tries to save money.

Proposals over cuts to Lewisham hospital in south-east London are to be decided on Friday, after a neighbouring South London Healthcare NHS Trust ran up debts of £150 million.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham opposes the proposals to close Lewisham A&E Credit: ITV Daybreak

Speaking to ITV Daybreak, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham agreed it does make sense to make closures as more lives can be saved by centralising services on one particular site.

But he did not agree that Lewisham A&E should be at risk over the financial failings of another trust.

"I think it's dangerous to do that given the pressure that we are seeing on A&Es in London and right across the country", he said.