Nursing staff from Lewisham Hospital are preparing to march on Saturday as part of a campaign to save the hospital’s accident and emergency department.
The public rally organised by Unison follows a report on the future of NHS services in south east London, which was published earlier this month.
As well as recommending that the financially troubled South London Health Trust be split up, it said the A&E at neighbouring Lewisham should be downgraded to an urgent care centre.
Michael Walker, the union’s nursing officer for London, said: “We are urging local people to come out on Saturday and show their support for this much-valued A&E department.
“Everyone has a stake in this protest and we’re expecting a massive attendance with placards from every section of Lewisham including churches, pensioner groups, schools, nurseries and workplaces.”
He added that the pressure on acute services in the area meant Lewisham hospital was taking on extra patients from other hospitals. “There is no way that this closure will not have a devastating impact on local people,” he said.
Mike Davey, a representative from Unison’s Lewisham branch, added: “It is a credit to hospital staff that they are working as normal providing a professional service, despite the threat.”
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt must decide whether to back the A&E closure by 1 February or come up with an alternative plan.
The march is due to start from Lewisham Train station at 12pm on 26 January.