Closing down Lewisham’s Accident & Emergency department – who’s holding the fuse on the PFI time-bomb?
The government has announced plans to close the Accident and Emergency Department at Lewisham Hospital, despite having refurbished it to the tune of £12 million earlier this year.
The move has been condemned by patient groups, and by doctors who warn that patient-safety and quality of care will be put at risk.
The rationale for the change is unclear. While the authorities claim to be acting for financial reasons, one possibility is that the move is part of the government’s longer-term plans for incremental privatisation of the National Health Service.
The proposed closure of Lewisham A & E has been presented as a package of measures linked to the collapse of the neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust.
The South London Healthcare Trust went into administration earlier this year due to the spiralling costs of crippling “Public Finance Initiative” (PFI) contracts, which had been awarded to private companies on highly-lucrative terms under the last Labour government.
But the identity of the companies or individuals benefiting from these expensive PFI contracts appears to be shrouded in mystery. Local campaigners say that they have tried without success to get answers from the authorities about who has been profiting.
Can you help to shed light on the PFI feeding frenzy that is now threatening healthcare provision in South London?