Thursday, 1 August 2013

38 Degrees Lewisham Hospital.

This is HUGE news. Today, we got the verdict in the court case against health secretary Jeremy Hunt, which 38 Degrees members helped to pay for. It's the result we had 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's also great news for the rest of us. If Jeremy Hunt had got away with this in Lewisham, no hospital would have been safe. When the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign decided to take Jeremy Hunt to court, thousands of us from all across the UK stepped in to help. Together, chipping in whatever we could afford, we raised the £20,000 they needed to launch their legal challenge. 

It's not often that ordinary people come together to take the government to court. That was an impressive achievement in itself. But to win – and to prove that Jeremy Hunt is breaking the law – is simply amazing. There will be so much more to do 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.

Today is a great win - but the Save our NHS campaign will need to go on tomorrow!

But let's take a little bit of time to celebrate first. Here are two ways to toast this success:

1. 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.

2. Sometimes it can feel like it's impossible for us to make a difference. Today's success proves that when enough of us work together, we really can. People power works!

Lewisham’s MP, Joan Ruddock, had this to say in The Independent: 
“This is the most significant community based battle that has ever succeeded in my political life. To take on the government in the high court, to win, is exceptional. We had a demo which turned out 25,000 people for a local cause.”

Here's what Dr Louise Irvine, chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, has to say: "We're delighted by the judgement and the support we've got from Lewisham and beyond, especially from 38 Degrees members who donated to make today's victory possible and helped give us the confidence to stand up to Jeremy Hunt in court".

Thank you for everything you do, David, Susannah, Ian, Travis, Blanche and the 38 Degrees team

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