Lewisham A&E - hush hush on the QT

Hundreds of people gathered outside the recording of BBC One's Question Time at Goldsmiths tonight in protest against the threatened closure of Lewisham Hospital's A&E department. Let's see if it's had the desired effect and influenced the debate this evening. The show starts at 10.35pm.

22:31 - BBC London has reported the protest ahead of the broadcast.

22:36 - It's started. Not sure Dorries and Prescott are who we'd have wished for to give this issue the spotlight we need, but the Goldsmiths crowd will have to cut their cloth accordingly.

22:40 - Dorries did at least acknowledge the issue on Twitter, saying that locals are worried about traffic problems. That's not the point in BC's view - it's the fact that a population of 250,000 and counting will have no A&E ward and we're being told to use a relatively poor service in Woolwich instead.

22:43 - In the comments, Sue reports that the audience were told the issue was too local to debate. So here's hoping someone managed something like "Do the panel agree with the disastrous decision to close vital services at Lewisham Hospital in light of the delightful news that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting a baby?"

22:48 - "Hospitals" just got a mention. That might be all we get...

22:50 - Prescott: "something, something, tax avoidance, something, something, Tories." Incoherent ramble nonetheless manages to draw a rousing round of applause. Unlikely to endear Jeremy Hunt to Lewisham.

22:56 - Dorries quoting accurate employment stats and being frowned at by man in audience for suggesting that the private sector is doing a good job at creating jobs.

23:02 - It's a shame QT felt the need to go back to the well about whether Dorries should have gone on IACGMOOH. No, of course not. Move on. It is not an interesting question. There are hospitals to be saved. Still, good bit of sarcasm from the guy in the crowd who expressed sympathy for her crowded summer schedule.

23:12 - Still talking about Dorries. Prescott reminds us of his flirtation with celebrity. I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.

23:13 - "David Cameron claimed the NHS was safe in his hands. Given the cuts and closures, is this still the case?" Well done that woman. Dimbleby explains the accompanying cheers were about Lewisham A&E.

23:14 - Ed Davey - one of the best ministers around - spells out the issue nicely and says he's alarmed. Notes he fought similar issues in his constituency.

23:15 - Davey says he's opposed to it but won't pre-judge the Health Sec's decision. Fair enough.

23:17 - Woman in audience says views of local people have been ignored. "Brand new facilities will be sold off under this plan."

23:19 - to his great discredit, Dimbleby doing his best to move the debate on to the general question about the NHS. So instead of a real issue that can be dissected to show what health care policy looks like in practice, we can have more vapid soundbites. Even Dorries is happy to move it back to Lewisham - blaming Labour PFI. Dorries says Lewisham is a good hospital.

23:21 - Dimbleby asks how it can be fair that Lewisham can be sacrificed to save worse hospitals. Dorries (attempting to have a go at Labour) says it isn't fair. Says she's opposed to it and will relay the messages of the protesters to Hunt.

23:22 - Ed Davey says local Lib Dems are campaigning against the proposal.

23:23 - Canny man in the audience presents this issue as a test of whether the NHS is safe in the hands of this government. That's got to be the approach. Make this a litmus test.

23:24 - Camilla Cavendish says she's been speaking to Lewisham doctors. Says that we risk rewarding bad management. Solvent, good care at risk. She says that Hunt should give Lewisham management wider responsibilities rather than shutting it down.

23:26 - This is great. John Bird raises the question of whether Lewisham is being hit because it's a left-leaning place. Says it may be a scurrilous accusation, but one he's happy to raise on national TV.

23.32 - The combined efforts of protesters, doctors and the audience ensured that the Lewisham Hospital issue was dealt with properly tonight. All sides came out in favour of saving the hospital and the political stakes have just been raised for Hunt.

39 comments:

Hob said...

Footage on BBC London news now!

Sue said...

We were told we couldn't ask questions about Lewisham hospital because it was 'too local'...BBC News reported the protest outside Goldsmiths after reporting other hospital closures in the capital. So, yes, let's see...

Hob said...

"Too local" how, when public service cuts are country wide? what's the point of going to a different city/town each week if the BBC aren't going to air the audience' experience of how the outcome of government policy is actually affecting them?

Kate Gould said...

And it's going to cost the government the cost of writing off the SLHT debt plus paying £55 million to implement the changes....

Hob said...

Expecting more about the Environment from the Cav (pro Green issues, also pro Heathrow 3rd runway) and Ed Davey - flights over Brockley might have been a better one to raise here...

Brockley Nick said...

You are right - although Heathrow flight paths actually are a London-only issue, whereas healthcare funding / PFI is national...

NAT said...

Mmm, is this the start of NadDor's rehabilitation process, having to come to the Tory darklands?
I do hope the right question gets asked...somehow.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, it's like Lance Armstrong on Oprah. Pathetic. 

Hob said...

It's not even current news, agree must be a warm up to the end of her suspension. Hey, someone just mentioned NHS CUTS!!

Katy said...

Some excellent comments from the audience, and gratifying that all the panellists (apart from Dimbleby) are keen to engage on the Lewisham Hospital question. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I liked Prescott. He was a good honest MP - and unlike all his ex-PR colleagues, spoke plain English without bullshit and spin.

Brockley Nick said...

Absolute nonsense. Every word from his mouth is pure party polliticking. Just because he's incoherent doesn't mean he isn't trying to spin.

V Annand said...

Well done to one of the local lobbyists for asking Nadine to take them along to a meeting with Jeremy Hunt.

Parish Pedant said...

It's John Bird (Big Issue founder), not John Birt.  You can tell by the plain English.

NAT said...

Sure check Prescotts relationship with the Chinese vis a vis Tibet and his family relations...Good, Honest,.. as cheap chicken

Brockley Nick said...

very good!

Liam said...

why did they not have any local MP's on the show?

NAT said...

That was better than could be hoped for with an unpromising looking panel.
Agree about Dimbleby's misplaced avuncular 'Lets move the focus to the wider issues'.

Tom said...

"22:56 - Dorries quoting accurate employment stats and being frowned at by man in audience for suggesting that the private sector is doing a good job at creating jobs."
Honestly Nick - you're such a yawnsome Privateer (TM). I don't think anyone really understands the current employment stats ... yes the apparent job total is going up, but no-one is convinced either by the quality or the longevity of those positions. The majority appear to be part-time, low-paid, etc etc.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I work for myself so am allowed to say anything I like

Anonymous said...

Nick, there's nothing incoherent about John Prescott. Have you ever met anyone from outside the M25?

Brockley Nick said...

Tom, I think it's well understood that many of the jobs being created are part-time or insecure (and many aren't). But when the Tories set out their economic plans, their suggestion that the private sector could replace the jobs lost to the public sector was laughed out of court by many. But they've been proved right. 

What's more, at the start of the recession, we were told by those same critics that mass unemployment would leave us with an entire generation that fell out of the labour market entirely and that the most important thing was to give people any kind of job, even if that meant people paying firms to keep people on part time (German manufacturers were praised for keeping staff on part time rather than letting employees go). 

I think that first analysis was broadly correct and I think credit where it is due to employers for being enlightened enough to keep people on.

anonymouse said...

 Flights over Brockley versus closing Lewisham's A&E???

Rosiehattersley said...

Dimbleby and the programme editor decided the questions aired based on a pool of them we submitted ahead of time and on cards just before the programme recording. I was also told I couldn't submit Lewisham A&E as my question as all questions had to be national in scope. So blame Dimbleby and team for the I'm A Celeb question and the debate for only getting us 4 questions of the seven shortlisted

Daniel Woods said...

congratulations to the protesters who went down to question time and stood outside in the freezing cold, making the issue salient, conspicuous for both audience and panel. despite the fatalism of some, hopefully, this level of publicity can put more pressure on hunt to not follow kershaw's  recommendations. this issue is still very much live and i feel, ultimately will rest on the level of exposure that it gets, and the extent to which it is perceived to be in the expedient, political interest of the government to fall on the side of Lewisham hospital. it's a game and you have to understand that to campaign effectively on any issue. the point needs to be emphasised over and over again that this could save lives quite literally, someone who is even close to you - a sister, friend, mother, father, brother, wife, husband, or partner. someone needing critical care, when time is so important, an accident victim, or a mother and child experiencing complications during birth. its something that really could directly and profoundly affect anyone in the area.

Anon said...

Yup, Prescott really was bad... shameless smug tory-bashing-for-no-particular-reason tonight.


As well as zero remorse or admission of guilt for the deliberate top rate tax increase and PFI.

wombles4000 said...

Looking more closely at the jobs picture & ONS stats reveals a few things. Part time and self employment are up. Many in those are claiming tax credits. With tax credits, for most who are part time & self employed, the amount they receive is more than paid in tax. This is particularly for those with children. So it's a net loss. The benefits and tax credits bill is still rising sharply. The ONS figures show monthly and annual rises, and decreasing income tax receipts. 

Youth unemployment is down, but this is due to hundreds of thousands now on new apprenticeship schemes. Good news you may think, but 2 separate govt and parliamentary reports from the end of last year claimed many were actually low/no skilled positions and very low wage labour (pay only a couple of quid an hour - minimum wage doesn't apply). 

Thirdly - JSA numbers are down but sanctions are up skewing the figures, as are people moved onto work programmes after 6 months.

Wombles4000 said...

Yep people clapping him and supporting labour need to wise up about the disaster of Labours PFI, and realise they are being shat on by all the main parties. The PFI problems were predicted by many at the time. Tories and Lib Dems are still pursuing PFI schemes in govt.

Tamsin said...

I do like the way you do a running commentary in the original post as stories unfold.

Normally can't bear Question Time - politicians playing the blame game and slagging off each other's parties - but I note the panel is now extended to four - so we do get two who are not MPs.

From the viewpoint of the Lewisham Campaign this was most encouraging I thought - as someone's said, certainly raised the political stakes for Hunt.

hob said...

Anonymouse- no not saying they're both oranges, merely highlighting the panel make up, the Times doesn't have an editorial line on the closure of our a&e (they do on London airport infrastructure), Ed Davey and Nadine Dorries have no ministerial authority for Health and can only take back the depth of feeling from the protestors and audience to Jeremy Hunt.

Expect the panel's consensus on the A&E issue was an annoyance to Producers who were hoping for a bit of conflict on each topic.
I was disappointed that the PFI question, which is a national issue, was like the elephant in the room; there was finger pointing at Brown/Balls for creating unsustainable debt but no solutions offered for paying it off, for example writing off the interest; John Bird and Cavendish are outside the party whip and could have had stronger views on this.

Hob said...

So did they record 7 questions, then chose Junglegate as 1 of the 4 most important? We're not even her constituency, what do we care!

Margaret Glover said...

Am I right in thinking Any Questions comes from St Catherine's on Telegraph Hill tonight?

If so, and there's a question on Lewisham A&E tonight, there's a chance to ring or email Any Answers tomorrow to follow up.

Rosiehattersley said...

No. They chose 7 questions for potential live debate, one of which was a dummy run to get us warmed up (should the south-east devolve from the rest of the country); we ran out of time for the final two questions and the EU one was very rushed. Too much time given to Dorries' excuses for doing the jungle thing. 

NAT said...

@ Margaret Glover; So it does, what are the chances!
This could be a great way to keep the momentum going via 'Any Answers'

Hob said...

Sorry A'mouse, responded but Disqus ate my comment. Was not suggesting they are both oranges, merely highlighting lack of ministerial power viz health on last nights panel. At least the Times have an editorial line on airport expansion and climate change.
Neither Cavendish nor John Bird hadb any helpful insight into how the country can get out of this PFI mess, or why we are giving the private sector these huge interest repayments when there's no money left in the pot, and Davey & Dorries wagged their fingers at Prescott for being part of the government that impelemented it.

Hob said...

Rather, just wagged their fingers...

NAT said...

Tonight's Any Questions panel:
Malcolm Rifkind, Simon Hughes, Harriet Harman and Douglas Murray.
 

NAT said...

Qustion 5 and yet no mention of The National Health Service. Perhaps there will be a late flurry of blows.

NAT said...

Nothing. Nothing at all about Lewisham A&E .

Hob said...

Or re closure of new cross fire station, just down the road from the recording

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