Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hospital Demo

Above: Anne Garrett (Green Party GLA candidate for Bexley & Bromley), Sian Berry (Green Party Mayor of London candidate ) and me (Green Party GLA candidate for Greenwich & Lewisham).

Busy day today, with the 'Save our hospital services' march from Blackheath to Ladywell Fields, via Lewisham Hospital, recuperative lunch in Masons, then delivering London Green News in the afternoon.

Rather disappointing turnout for the march I thought, despite the best efforts of the organisers and lots of publicity in the local press - only about a hundred people (compared to around 1,500 at a similar march in Bexley a few weeks ago), and a good number of those were politicians keen to prove how much they wanted to 'save our hospital' (is there an election coming up or something?!). Admittedly it was a wet and windy day (although the rain held off for most of the march), but I'm concerned that the message hasn't really got through to a lot of residents about what is being proposed in the 'A Picture of Health' consultation.

A number of households haven't received the consultation document and many of those who did, may have read it and not understood it, as the options are presented in a very confusing way. I'm still struggling to get my head around the bizarre chart on p14, though I think I have just about sussed it now. Others feel disempowered and cynical about the whole thing, believing that it is a done deal. One of the passers-by I spoke to said as much. This is a real shame because if we want to save our services at Lewisham Hospital, we need to fight for them, otherwise the cuts will certainly be pushed through.

Just to be clear, option 3, which is understood to be the 'preferred option' (by the hospitals) involves downgrading Lewisham hospital by closing its children's department (one of the best in the country), downgrading A&E to an urgent care centre (ie only non-life threatening treatment or patients unlikely to require admission) and downgrading the maternity services (ante-natal care but no deliveries - you'll have to go elsewhere to give birth).

A Labour Party leaflet handed out today was encouraging people to go for option 2, which involves keeping the status quo at Lewisham, but, if I understand it correctly, cuts at Queen Mary's in Sidcup. Most others at the demo, Greens included, were saying that we shouldn't be playing off one borough's hospital against another's and should go for option 4, which is 'none of the above, think again'.

If you haven't already returned your response to the 'A Picture of Health' consultation, you have until 8th April to do so.

Sian, Ute and me recuperating after the demo at Masons on Ladywell Road. The place was absolutely packed - is this how people who aren't always out delivering yet another Green News spend their time then?!


Shasha Khan said...

You guys don't look tired enough! I needed a drip to feed at the end of my quota.

Sue Luxton said...

that was post-demo but pre-leafleting!