Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lewisham Massive

Aerial shot provided to ITV and BBC © Lewisham NHS Trust. 
All other pix by Crosswhatfields unless otherwise credited.

"If Jeremy Hunt can close a good local hospital here, he can do it anywhere in the country – nowhere is safe”
Dr Louise Irvine, Save Lewisham Hospital

Does anyone know where A&E is?

Heidi Alexander (MP Lewisham East) spoke at the rally soon after Nick Ferrari from LBC (a Lewisham resident whose son was in the hospital the night before). We missed earlier speakers. Meanwhile people were still arriving at the park (and finding it a bit muddy).

A 100ft long petition (which ended up as 200ft since both sides were used) to be delivered to Jeremy Hunt this week.

Local clown Dr Burnheart Gloss and his volunteers entertained the marchers with Splat The Rat, The Human Fruit Machine and a Coconut Shy refigured to target Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The coconut shy was extremely popular, with folk queuing up to "knock his rotten block off". Hunt has become a target for protesters since he refused to meet with Lewisham GPs – and has previously insisted no A&Es should be closed purely to save cash, so any decision to cut services in Lewisham would be an embarrassing U-turn. He will also face criticism if he decides to save Lewisham’s A&E because the consultation process which led to the recommendations ran 25 per cent over budget and cost taxpayers £5.1 million.

See more reports of the demonstration from Transpontine and Channel 4.
Also see East London Lines and more pics and news of media coverage on Save Lewisham Hospital's website. ITV and Radio 4 also had good coverage, but BBC TV disappointed. Some great pictures from the Daily Express (?!) here. Also see Andy Worthington's pictures and words here plus pics and video from Alternative SE4.
Good stories leading up to the march in The Guardian here and here.

"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."
Dr Louise Irvine, Chair of Save Lewisham Hospital campaign

Thanks to Mark Moynihan for the following scenes we missed...

Finally, BIG thanks to all who helped to organise the march. You are amazing!


  1. before you describe Heidi Alexander as 'one of the main drivers of the campaign' (which she isn't, she's just taking up a moralistic stance and being opportunistic) - you should remember that this PFI was signed by a Labour Government and whilst she was deputy mayor of a labour-run lewisham council she would have been complicit in pushing through many PFI agreements that will have the borough rate payers paying off enormous interest rates for many years to come

    1. The main people behind the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign are listed on their website, and all are working at grassroots level. Ms Alexander is not listed, but helped with the online petition, among other things.

      Of course anyone can set up a petition, and anyone can jump on the bandwagon (in fact, the more the merrier). When we set one up to stop Betfred, it took a while before People Before Profit jumped on the bandwagon and claimed victory.

      You're right of course about PFI – a New Labour disaster. But losing the hospital is the last thing Labour Lewisham needs when it is in the middle of massively increasing the borough's residential population (so not really a 'moralistic' or 'opportunistic' stance – more a case of preserving infrastructure to support its ambitions)...

  2. Amazing pictures!!!! thx for sharing.

  3. Fightbacks like this will start to shake this government. Let's keep it up. It was a wonderful People's Day.