Londoners, whatever you do, don’t have an accident! The announcement last week that Lewisham Hospital is set to be the latest hospital to lose its A&E services (and possibly its maternity unit) after being hampered by debts follows fast on the heels of a decision to cut A&E departments at Ealing, Hammersmith, Charing Cross and Central Middlesex hospitals over the next three years. A&E services at Chelsea & Westminster and West Middlesex hospitals are also under consideration for closure. The NHS says better care can be given by fewer, more specialised centres and if the closures don’t take place it will leave a £332m gap to plug by 2014/15. Opponents to the cuts say patients will have to travel further for treatment.
Now those who will feel the impact of the plans are fighting back. The Festival of Dissent is a month-long festival organised by local residents in the boroughs affected by the proposals. It is part of the campaign group ‘Save Our Hospitals’ that wants to see a halt to the closures. The first event, on November 10, is a historical walk to celebrate London’s medical pioneers and milestones. It kicks off at Brompton Cemetery and finishes with a wreath-laying in remembrance of Dr Golding, founder of Charing Cross Hospital. Rebecca Taylor
For info, see saveourhospitals.net.