PRESS RELEASE: The chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has hit out against the Health Secretary for misleading the Commons yesterday over his role in the proposed closure of Lewisham A&E.
Dr Louise Irvine, who’s standing for the National Health Action Party against Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey at the general election, was reacting to Mr Hunt’s claim, in a Commons answer to Labour MP Clive Efford, that he did not propose the closure of Lewisham A&E in 2012. *
Dr Irvine said:
Jeremy Hunt is playing silly semantic games. He backed proposals to close Lewisham A&E and replace it with a “small A&E” which was in effect an urgent care centre, run by nurses and GPs. It would not have been able to admit patients, and would have no intensive care unit, no acute admission beds and no specialist A&E staff. To all intents and purposes, he was proposing the closure of Lewisham A&E. Now he appears to be saying there had never been any plans to close Lewisham A&E. It’s pitiful how he’s trying to twist the truth.
He is playing the same game now with Charing Cross Hospital, saying the A&E will remain open when in fact it will not. It’s a sneaky way of pretending he is not actually proposing a closure. It’s also a way of downplaying the fact that closing down an A&E is more far-reaching as it means acute medical and surgical beds are also lost. An urgent care centre or walk-in clinic does not replace an acute hospital.