Election 2017: Labour’s Ilford North candidate Wes Streeting ambushes Jeremy Hunt to ask him to ‘reverse’ closure of King George A&E
PUBLISHED: 14:52 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:26 13 May 2017
Labour’s Ilford North candidate Wes Streeting said he ambushed a Tory campaign event with Jeremy Hunt to ask him to “reverse” the closure of King George’s A&E.
The health secretary announced plans to turn the borough’s only emergency unit, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, into an urgent care centre in 2011.
Today, at a private campaign event to support the Tories’ candidate Lee Scott, Mr Hunt told the Recorder he could not see the A&E closing “in the foreseeable future”.
He said: “We are absolutely not going to pursue any decision if it affects neighbouring hospitals.”
Mr Streeting gatecrashed the private meeting, at the Prince Regent Hotel, in Woodford Green, “to ask him [Jeremy Hunt] to reverse a simple decision”.
Activists from both parties shouted at each other, while the health secretary was whisked away in a car to another event.
Mr Streeting told the Recorder afterwards: “Unless and until Jeremy Hunt reverses the closure decision, the A&E closure will still happen and anyone who pretends otherwise is misleading the public.
“Jeremy Hunt is the only politician in the country who has the power to reverse this decision, and he hasn’t done so.
“When the public see a politician say ‘in the foreseeable future’ they know they just don’t want to make a promise in the election campaign.”
Conservative activists celebrated Mr Hunt’s visit, and said that his comments proved the emergency unit would not shut 2019.
Mr Scott said: “In 2015 we told Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate we will not be shutting the A&E in the foreseeable future.
“Yet they’re still lying and scare mongering, it’s affecting staff morale.”
Earlier this week the Recorder contacted Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) which runs King George Hospital, and a spokesman said the plan was still in place for 2019.
However “nothing will happen until we are fully satisfied all the necessary resources are in place, including the additional capacity at the neighbouring hospitals”, Jane Milligan, executive lead on the proposals, wrote in a letter.