Lewisham A&E department will be downgraded, health secretary says

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 31 January 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f699
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

England’s health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, today tried to steer a middle course between the recommendations of an administrator appointed to solve the problems of a failing south London hospital trust and campaigners who wanted to keep open their local hospital’s emergency unit.

He announced that the emergency unit at Lewisham Hospital would not remain in its present state, but nor would it be closed or turned into an urgent care centre, as originally proposed. Instead it would be downgraded while still retaining cover by senior emergency staff for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling it to provide services to 75% of the patients who currently use it.

However, the obstetrician led maternity unit at Lewisham would be downgraded to a midwife led birthing centre, as proposed.

Hunt was responding to the report of the trust special administrator, Matthew Kershaw. Kershaw was appointed in July last year by the former health secretary, Andrew …

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