London

London mayor heckled by Lewisham hospital campaigners

  • 7 March 2013
  • From the section London

London Mayor Boris Johnson was heckled at a meeting where he faced campaigners calling for A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital to be saved.

About 700 people packed a theatre in Catford, south-east London, where he took questions from residents.

Protesters asked him to support the campaign and urge Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to reverse his decision.

The mayor was booed and heckled when he said experts had told him that the reforms could "improve healthcare".

Last month, the government announced that Lewisham Hospital's A&E would be downgraded and made smaller and the maternity unit would be replaced with a midwife-led facility to help tackle debts of £150m at the neighbouring South London Healthcare NHS Trust.

Support campaign

Dr Louise Irvine, who chairs Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, told the mayor: "There was no sound clinical basis for the decision. Why do you think your concerns were ignored?

"Will you be pressing Jeremy Hunt to reverse his decision? Will you declare your support for the save Lewisham Hospital campaign?"

Responding to the questions, Mr Johnson said he had been told that 100 lives a year could be saved by the reforms.

But he added that he had made representations on the issue previously.

He said: "The advice I am getting from clinicians, who I don't think are motivated by any desire to reduce the quality of healthcare in London... they are advising me that these reforms could actually improve healthcare.

"I am going to speak for Londoners and I am going to speak for the 100 people whose lives might be saved."

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