February 7, 2013 by Protect Our NHS
- Protest over downgrading of Lewisham Hospital’s casualty department
- Patients will be moved elsewhere to divert cash to another NHS Trust
- Seven GPs on executive board said to be ‘considering their position’
- Minister refused to answer questions after ignoring opposition
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt faces an unprecedented backlash from GPs who have threatened to quit executive roles over his controversial decision to downgrade a highly successful A&E unit.
In what would be the first walkout of its kind, senior GPs could resign over Mr Hunt’s decision last Thursday to disregard their views and turn Lewisham Hospital’s well-regarded casualty department – where 115,000 patients are treated every year – into ‘a tweaked urgent care centre’.
It means the most seriously ill patients will now be taken to other hospitals in a bid to divert Government money from Lewisham, South-East London, to a neighbouring NHS Trust which is in danger of going bankrupt.
The Minister has refused to answer questions from The Mail on Sunday about his decision and has ‘gone away for the weekend with his family’, according to a spokeswoman.
Mr Hunt has also left behind confusion among doctors and managers as to which services will be left intact at Lewisham, and the threat of a judicial review over his decision.
Seven GPs on the executive board of the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which represents 170 family doctors in the area, are now said to be ‘considering their position’ after claiming their overwhelming opposition to the proposals were ignored by the Minister.
Dr Helen Tattersfield, chairwoman of Lewisham CCG, said: ‘There’s a view that if we on the CCG board can’t influence something as important as this then how can we expect to influence anything? It’s a definite option for people, including me, to stand down.
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