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[Dr William McCrea in the Chair] — Hospital Services (South London)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:36 am on 22nd January 2013.

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Photo of Bob Stewart Bob Stewart Conservative, Beckenham 10:36 am, 22nd January 2013

I thank the previous speakers for allowing me to speak. I was not going to speak, but I felt induced to do so by the excellence of the debate. My constituency is bracketed: on one hand, we have Lewisham hospital, and on the other, the Princess Royal university hospital in Farnborough, so I feel very much like the piggy in the middle. However, we have the Beckenham Beacon, and if I have time, I will mention that at the end.

Lewisham hospital is excellent. Working within its budget, it has a good reputation and serves the local community, which includes people from my constituency. I really am against the idea of its role being changed. The idea that it becomes an urgent care centre is fine. When I asked the special administrator about that, he suggested to me that it was not much of a change, and the only real change was that people would not be admitted into the general hospital. That is not quite as I understood it. Now we do not have the specialist back-up, and there will be a big reduction in people being seen locally. Lewisham requires a hospital, and it should keep its hospital.

Travelling around south London is notoriously difficult, as we have heard. All the routes go in to the epicentre. The eye of the octopus is round about here, and so trying to cross London to go to various hospitals—particularly for those who do not have an easy transport option—is extremely difficult. I am thinking of the elderly, as it is very difficult for them to achieve what they want and get to a hospital—say, if they are sent somewhere other than Lewisham, when they live in Lewisham. I am very concerned about the idea that we can do away with maternity services in Lewisham. Some 4,000 babies is a heck of a lot of babies to cart off somewhere else, as I mentioned in an earlier intervention.

I finish by reminding Members that we have the Beckenham Beacon, which is only 70% used at the moment. It is an outstanding facility, and from what I have heard, I understand that the clinical commissioning group for Bromley intends to take up the services that are there now. However, I also commend the people looking at this problem to think about increasing the services of the Beckenham Beacon, to help not only my constituents but the people of Lewisham. I know that I have to stop now, Dr McCrea, so as I am a very good boy, I will sit down.