Figures in a recent council report show a 31% increase in emergency ambulance call outs last winter over the previous year. The number covers Lewisham and Woolwich NHS Trust.
An ever rising population and issues with GP services has combined to cause increased demand. The population of Greenwich borough has seen one of the sharpest increases in London in recent years. London as a whole has also increased quickly.
London saw more than half a million more people from 2011 to 2016 whilst Greenwich borough grew by 20,400.
With housebuilding in Greenwich borough showing no sign of slowing down how long can one hospital take the load?
With housing in great need the solution isn’t to stop building homes – as some people lucky enough to have a secure social rented home or homeowners sometimes argue – but ensure infrastructure development keeps pace.
An extension of QE in Woolwich is planned and was covered here.
Queen Mary A&E in Sidcup closed in 2010. Maternity services also shut. Lewisham was threatened with closure in 2013 but court action overruled Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The question now is how will this winter fare. The QE extension is not complete and more new homes have completed throughout the year.
Images last week showed patients at QE A&E being treated in corridors, and that’s just the first week of cold weather.