Save Lewisham Hospital wins Appeal
The cuts at Lewisham Hospital by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had been challenged by Save Lewisham Hospital and the London Borough of Lewisham. During the summer, the High Court ruled Mr. Hunt did not have power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital, south-east London.
The government turned to the Court of Appeal on Monday in an attempt to overrule the decision. The decision made by Lord Dyson, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Underhill, ruled Mr Hunt acted outside his powers. They ruled Mr Hunt had breached the National Health Services Act 2006, when he decided the emergency and maternity units at Lewisham Hospital should be cut back.
Rosa Curling, who represented the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign group, said: “This expensive waste of time for the government should serve as a wakeup call that they cannot ride roughshod over the needs of the people.
The Hunt had said “I completely understand why the residents of Lewisham did not want any change in their A&E services, but my job as health secretary is to protect patients across south London – and doctors said these proposals would save lives.’’
Mr Justice Silber said at the High Court in July, the cuts would mean local people having ‘’to travel a long, long way further to get access to vital services’’. The government turned to the Court of Appeal on Monday in an attempt to get the decision overruled.
Mr Hunt had previously claimed the move would improve patient care after appointing a trust special administrator (TSA) to the South London Healthcare Trust, which went into administration after losing more than £1m a week. The TSA had recommended cuts at the Hospital.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: “This is a great result. I was confident of our case but I am still very relieved.’’
“This is another victory for each and every individual who signed a petition, who wrote to the secretary of state and who marched through the streets of Lewisham.”