London

Thousands march to save Lewisham A&E and maternity unit

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Media captionProtest to save Lewisham A&E unit

More than 2,000 people have marched in south-east London to protest against the planned closure of Lewisham A&E and maternity units.

The closure would be part of a reorganisation aimed at rescuing the South London Healthcare Trust - which has been put into administration.

The proposals have been made by the Trust Special Administrator (TSA).

A TSA spokeswoman said the proposals ensure "health services are sustainable in the long term".

The proposals for Lewisham are part of a bigger plan to restructure the hospitals in south-east London.

'Parents concerned'

Local resident Annelise Langmead said: "As a parent of a young son with anaphylaxis it is vital that we have access to local and speedy emergency services.

"I am just one of many parents concerned at the proposed closure of Lewisham Hospitals' A&E department.

"Lewisham currently have numerous new housing projects which will bring more people into the area, it seems short sighted to propose closure of services much needed locally."

An TSA spokeswoman said: "We welcome people expressing their views and are encouraging people to have their say."

Image caption The proposals for Lewisham are part of a bigger plan to restructure the hospitals in south-east London

"We believe that the changes proposed will not only improve the quality of care for patients, they will ensure health services are sustainable for the people of south-east London in the long term.

The draft recommendation related to emergency services at Lewisham is for the most critically ill only and the majority of patients who currently attend Lewisham for urgent care and treatment would continue to do so.

"Patients can be reassured that they will get the appropriate level of care they need for any condition they may have," The TSA spokeswoman said.

A spokesman from Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust, which has not made the proposals but would be affected by the changes, said: "We welcome the support of local people, who share our pride in the trust's high quality services.

"Lewisham Healthcare will also be submitting a formal response separately.

"We recognise that the NHS faces pressures, and hard decisions will be made," he added.

"However, we do not feel that a prescriptive approach to service change is right."

The TSA's public consultation on its proposals runs until 13 December.

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