Nick Clegg Defends Lewisham A&E Plans
Thursday 31st January 2013
Nick Clegg has defended plans which could see the closure of an A&E department at a major hospital in south east London.
Ahead of today's decision on whether Lewisham hospital will lose its emergency department after the nearby South London Healthcare NHS Trust went into administration, John from Lewisham called the Deputy Prime Minister during his weekly phone in on LBC 97.3.
"Will the advice of local GPs and Consultants be considered in the future or are absolutely no successful hospitals safe under this Coalition?" John asked.
The proposals are part of the reorganisation of the South London Healthcare Trust - which has been put into administration.
Labour leader Ed Miliband says the decision should be based on clinical judgments not cost judgments.
of people took part in a mass march over the weekend in protest at
plans to cut local services in order to solve a budget crisis caused by
the neighbouring health trust.
But Mr Clegg has told us Labour is to blame.
"So the whole kind of health system in that part of London is in a sense, financially running on empty because of a failure to make sure that this PFI deal was good value for local taxpayers and patients. So they're going to have to do something."
"There are no easy choices and I'm not going to try and second guess what Jeremy Hunt is going to do and decide," he added. "I certainly understand why people feel as strongly as they do locally and I know that any decision will also be, of course, based (which is your question, John), on clinical advice about what is right for patients."
Shortly after this week's Call Clegg Health Minister Jeremy Hunt announced the A&E department and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital are to be downgraded despite the protest against it.