Victory for Lewisham campaigners
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The CSP has welcomed the decision by the High Court that Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, had acted outside his powers when he announced at the start of 2013 that the A&E and maternity units at Lewisham Hospital in south east London would be downgraded.
The decision was triggered by the serious financial problems affecting nearby South London Healthcare NHS Trust which had recently gone into administration. The downgrading would have had a major impact on the local community with patients having to travel much further to access vital services.
CSP members have been actively involved in the long running campaign to reverse the decision, joining in a 25,000 strong protest march held in January.
Theresa Morris, CSP steward at the hospital, said on behalf of members there, who have been actively involved in the campaign:
'Members, staff and patients at Lewisham are delighted with the outcome of the judicial review to overturn the decision regarding the closure of our excellent services. There has been a great buzz throughout the hospital and community since the judgement, with everyone seeing this as a victory over the current attacks on the NHS.'
Claire Sullivan, Assistant Director of Employment Relations and Union Services at the CSP, added:
'This shows what can be achieved by local campaigns, involving whole communities, including staff, patients and supporters. The quality of services at Lewisham has never been in question and this decision shows that proper processes must be followed.
'Although this outcome directly affects the services provided by one hospital the same principles will apply across the UK in many other areas. Hopefully other CSP members will be encouraged by this ruling to take action when faced with proposals which they know will seriously damage the patient services they are providing.'
The campaign received strong support from campaigning group 38 Degrees which helped to fund the legal challenge.