‘Provisional’ date set for King George Hospital A&E closure in 2015
PUBLISHED: 08:59 18 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:23 18 July 2013
A “provisional” date has been set for the closure of King George Hospital’s A&E department in 2015.
A report by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) said the emergency department in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, will shut in the second quarter of the year.
Trust representatives have previously maintained that no timescale would be set for the controversial move until the troubled A&E at Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, was ready to take the extra numbers.
The same report said the emergency department at King George would be closed at night from the start of next month, although BHRUT deny this.
A spokesman said closing King George’s A&E to blue light ambulances at night would allow staff to be transferred to Queen’s to “strengthen” the care there.
She added: “It is important that a provisional date is in place to allow us to work on detailed plans and measures to ensure a safe and seamless transfer of services.
“There are no plans to discontinue urgent care at King George, and even after the full 24 hour closure of the A&E, the majority of patients will continue to receive treatment 24/7 in the enhanced Urgent Care Centre.”
Local residents, MPs, councillors and campaigners from the Save King George Hospital campaign have fought the closure since it was first announced.
Ilford North MP Lee Scott said he will continue trying to reverse the decision.
He added: “I will be meeting with the secretary of state for health and the chief executive to do my upmost to make sure this does not happen.”
Campaigner Cllr Andy Walker said he was “stunned” the date was still in place in the wake of the failings found at Queen’s earlier this month.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said any reduction of services at King George would cause “chaos”.
He added: “The health secretary said it there would be no change until it is ‘clinically sound’ but it is clinically unsound and I think it will be for a very long time.”
Last month, the Recorder revealed that demand at King George’s A&E is soaring, with nearly 18,000 ambulances arriving between April 2012 and March this year – two per cent more than the previous year.
And more people in Redbridge needed urgent care than ever before, with paramedics attending 14,152 incidents where patients had life-threatening illnesses or injuries.
Numbers are also rocketing at Queen’s Hospital A&E, which is the busiest and slowest department in London.
It received another damning report from health watchdog the Care Quality Commission last week, which found the Romford hospital was failing standards including the care and welfare of people, and staffing.