Lewisham A&E Downgraded In Cost Cutting Measure

Lewisham hospital’s A&E department is to be downgraded to an "urgent care" ward as part of cost-cutting measures.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in the Commons that a smaller ward would continue to operate at the south-east London hospital.

The downgrade followed neighbouring South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT) running up debts of £150m.

SLHT will be dissolved by October 2013 and its hospitals re-configured, Mr Hunt confirmed.

It has been proposed that up to three quarters of those currently attending Lewisham A&E could attend the new service at the hospital, and patients with more serious conditions could be taken to other hospitals.

Mr Hunt said overall the proposals could save up to 100 lives per year through higher clinical standards.

On Saturday an estimated 15,000 people took part in a protest march against the plans.


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