Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Lewisham Population Question as part of hospital Campaign

Member to reply:       Councillor Maslin


Question asked by:  Mr Woolford

Can the Council please confirm how many new homes (and size of residential population growth)   the Council expects to be built in Lewisham over the next 20 years, and what numbers of these do the Council expect to be new families that would be in  need of  a Hospital Maternity ward, as growth of Population and extra residential population has not been taken into account.

Would the Council  agree that Lewisham residents, should the A&E department be closed, are more likely to use Kings and St Thomas Hospitals, than to travel to an unknown hospital already struggling to cope with increased demand and cuts to staff and  budgets in Woolwich.


The Lewisham Core Strategy (the principal planning document for the borough adopted in June 2011) provides for an additional 18,165 dwellings over a 15 year period from 2011 to 2026. Forecasts are not prepared for a 20 year period. The 15 year housing supply is updated each year through a housing trajectory and published in the Planning Service Annual Monitoring Report in December. For the period 2013/14 to 2027/28 it is forecast that 15,735 additional dwellings will be built.

According to the 2011 Census, Lewisham’s population was 275,900. Since 2001, the population increased by 27,000 representing a 11% increase. The 2011 Mid Year Population Estimates (as at 30 June 2011, released on 25th September 2012 by the Office for National Statistics) forecast Lewisham’s population will increase by 18% or an additional 47,500 people between 2006 and 2031.

The 2011 Census showed that Lewisham’s population profile has proportionally more people in age bands 0-4 and 20-44 than other parts of England. This is likely to result in demand for maternity services. However, the ONS does not make predictions.

Under the draft proposals of the Trust Special Administrator the Lewisham Hospital site would retain an Urgent Care Centre with enhanced clinical capacity with the aim of dealing with 70 to 80% of existing A&E and urgent care centre activity.  This includes patients who do not need admitting to a bed and the majority of patients that “walk in”.  Of course, walk-in patients may chose to travel further to access urgent/emergency care and will determine their choices based on their own personal criteria; such as ease of transport and travel times.  Based on existing flows, the Council agrees that this may well be into central London hospitals.

Patients with serious medical emergencies requiring an ambulance would be taken to the most appropriate hospital for their condition and not necessarily to the closest A&E or to the nearest A&E based on blue-light travel times.  This is already standard practice in Lewisham and is based on clinical evidence of improved patient outcomes for major trauma and heart attacks when patients are taken to Kings College Hospital and for strokes when patients are taken to either Kings or to Princess Royal Hospital.

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