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Bromley residents set for longer A&E journeys as Hunt announces Lewisham downgrade

PUBLISHED: 12:14 31 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:26 31 January 2013

Bromley residents are set to lose out it was announced Lewisham Hospital's A&E department and maternity unit will downgraded.

The decision was announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons this morning, agreeing with recommendations made by Trust Special Administrator Matthew Kershaw.

In some cases people living in New Beckenham will now have to travel close to seven miles in order to visit Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), in Farnborough Common, rather than the 3.5 miles to Lewisham.

After the closure of Sidcup’s Queen Mary’s hospital A&E in November 2010, the announcement on Lewisham leaves Bromley residents with potentially longer waiting times.

Debts of around £150million had been racked up by South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT), which is losing around £1.5million a week since its formation in 2009.

The trust will be dissolved by no later than October 1 this year.

As part of the proposals made by Mr Kershaw, PRUH will be taken over by King’s College Hospital NHS Trust.

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme was used to build both PRUH and Queen Elizabeth hospital, in Woolwich, and repayments are much higher than government financed projects.

The failing trust’s PFI debts will also be written off.

Mr Hunt also agreed that Queen Mary’s, in Sidcup, should become a “health hub” but it will retain its name.

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