Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Challenging Government over Lewisham A&E closure and the impact

If Lewisham A&E and maternity services close a 'tidal wave' will hit services at King's.  Today I challenged the government in a House of Commons debate over figures that show the closure of Lewisham will increase A&E admissions at King's by 45% and births at King's by 54% or 3,200 births a year. 

Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab):
I thank my hon. Friend for giving way and I join the hon. Member for Dartford (Gareth Johnson) in congratulating her on securing this debate.

On the impact on neighbouring hospitals, my hon. Friend will be aware of the importance—not only to local people but to London as a whole—of King’s College hospital. Is she also aware that the effective closing of maternity and A and E services at Lewisham hospital will hit like a tidal wave at King’s College hospital, because of the numbers of people involved. The health service estimate is that the number of people at King’s College A and E will increase by 45%. The staff at King’s College A and E do a very good job, but they will not be able to cope with a 45% increase in patients. The additional emergency admissions from that increased number of people at A and E will create such a strain on in-patient beds that the proposal is that in-patients—non-emergency admissions—will have to be shipped off to Farnborough hospital, which is an hour away on a bus and a train from Camberwell.

As for maternity services, the situation is even more pronounced, with a 54% increase envisaged in the number of women giving birth at King’s College hospital. The staff there simply cannot cope with that increase. At the moment, many women are turned away and told to go—guess where?—to Lewisham hospital.

You can sign the petition to save Lewisham Hospital here: http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/petitions/

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