King George A&E to remain open beyond 2015, says Health Secretary
12:10 20 May 2014
King George’s A&E will remain open beyond 2015 when it had been provisionally set to close and “for the foreseeable future”.
The news was announced today by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
In a statement, he said: “The NHS locally has always been clear that changes to the A&E service at King George Hospital will not be made until there are further improvements in the quality of emergency care, and when more work has taken place to reduce the need for hospital attendance and give care closer to home.”
Mr Hunt added: “Progress is being made in these areas and the Trust’s improvement plan as part of our rigorous special measures process reinforces the focus on developing emergency care for local patients.
“This is a priority for the new leadership team at the Trust.
“However, there is still work to do and we do not expect the Trust to be ready to make the changes for the foreseeable future.”
The Recorder revealed last year demand at King George’s A&E was soaring, with nearly 18,000 ambulances arriving between April 2012 and March this year – two per cent more than the previous year.
Figures revealed show Redbridge’s hospital trust consistently failed to hit government A&E waiting time targets in 2013.
Ilford North MP Lee Scott confirmed he would continue to campaign to keep the A&E open permanently.
He said: “In my view this is not the end of the campaign - not by any stretch of the imagination.
“This campaign has been going on for a decade.”
Mr Scott added the news “would get rid of stories” the hospital would close if the A&E was shut.
“This gets rid of stories that the hospital was going to close,” he added.
“I will still campaign for this to be made permanent.”
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes called the announcement “an election stunt” with the decision being made so close to the local elections on Thursday (22).
He said: “I think you should realise that this a pre-election stunt by Jeremy Hunt - the Redbridge Conservatives are desperate.
“The government is not changing its position. This is just a device to get the Conservatives more votes on Thursday.”