After it was announced that successful Lewisham Hospital is having its A&E downgraded by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Andy Burnham said:
“There will be no cheers for this statement in Lewisham. This Tory-led Government has accepted the principle that a successful local hospital can have its services downgraded to pay for the failures of another trust. Jeremy Hunt has just crossed a line and set a dangerous precedent.
“In this Tory-led Government’s new market-driven NHS, closures can be purely cost-driven and any hospital is vulnerable to changes through back-door reconfiguration. This announcement will send a chill wind through any community worried about its hospital services.
“It is simply not tenable to downgrade an A&E department without first establishing a clear clinical case for how it can be done without compromising patient safety. But that is what David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt are doing here. They set up a financially-driven process and have thrown together a clinical justification.
“David Cameron has caused unnecessary distress to the people of Lewisham. The campaigners have achieved something today, but they will continue the fight and they will have Labour’s support.”