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GP commissioners to keep A&E open after defeating Hunt in court



An A&E department that was at the centre of a judicial review determining how much influence the Government has over local GP commissioners will remain open, the CCG has confirmed.

NHS Lewisham CCG has said that it will recommend that all accident and emergency departments in the borough stay open after a review of the hospital departments, including at Lewisham Hospital.

In a letter to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, the CCG said: ‘Our work to date suggests that investment in community and primary care services will help us avoid a further increase in A&E activity and hospital admissions, but will not significantly reduce it … For the avoidance of doubt, we expect the Lewisham A&E Department to remain as an emergency care facility operating 24 hours a day.’

There have been doubts over the future of Lewisham’s A&Es since at least 2013, after Health secretary Jeremy Hunt decided to keep Lewisham A&E but at a reduced size.

The fate of the A&E department at Lewisham Hospital has been seen as a test of whether local commissioners will have the power to change local services.

In the judicial review judgement in 2013, Justice Silber said that the decision of the secretary of state to close Lewisham Hopsital’s A&E must be ‘quashed’ as he had acted outside his powers.

The Save Lewisham Hospital (SLH) group, led by local GP Dr Louise Irvine, challenged Mr Hunt’s decision to replace Lewisham Hospital A&E with an urgent care centre, which was based on a recommendation by a ‘trust special administrator’ looking into financial problems at the nearby South London Healthcare Trust.