Lewisham: an incredible victory

Incredible news. A few hours ago, we got the verdict in the court case against Jeremy Hunt which 38 Degrees members helped to pay for.

It’s the result we’d all hoped for: the judge ruled that Jeremy Hunt acted illegally. He’s been ordered to scrap his plan to cut A&E and maternity services at Lewisham Hospital, south London.

This is fantastic news for the people of Lewisham. But it is also great news for the rest of us. If Jeremy Hunt had got away with this in Lewisham, no hospital would have been safe.

38 Degrees members have been involved throughout the campaign. Here’s what we did together:

  • In January hundreds of 38 Degrees members joined a 25,000-strong march through Lewisham to protest the cuts
  • A week later, we rallied outside the Department of Health alongside the Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners and a hospital staff choir
  • We sent over 18,000 letters to Jeremy Hunt asking him to re-think his plans
  • We saw Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that the maternity and A&E units would stay open but be massively scaled-back, and raised him… a court case!
  • Thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in to fund an expert legal team and enable the Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners to take Jeremy Hunt to court, and today, we found out that we’ve won.

There will be so much more to do across the country if we’re going to stop and reverse this government’s damaging attacks on our health service. In Lewisham, there’s a chance the government may appeal the court’s decision. Everywhere else, there are cuts, privatisation, and low care standards for us to battle against.

But today is a day for celebration. Across the country, 38 Degrees members will raise a glass this evening to all the people who made this breakthrough possible. The 38 Degrees members who donated. All the other 38 Degrees members who are involved in the Save Our NHS campaign. The brilliant local campaigners in the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign who have worked tirelessly for months. The crack legal team at Leigh Day solicitors. And the wonderful local NHS staff who’ve just kept going despite their hospital being under threat.

Together, we’ve done something remarkable.