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The A&E at King George Hospital is not safe for patients being put at risk by a lack of senior doctors and long waits for treatment, according to a report.

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What are special measures?

• The trust must now publish an “Improvement Plan” listing the measures it takes to improve services, including who is leading on different actions. It will have its leadership reviewed, and it will be both supported and monitored. It might be given a “partner” from a better-performing trust, or more help from commissioners.

• The chief inspector of hospitals will visit Queen’s and King George again after a set period of time. If they have improved sufficiently, the trust will be taken out of special measures. If not, it could be placed into special administration.

South London NHS Trust won the grim accolade of being first in the country to go into administration when Matthew Kershaw from the Department of Health was appointed to run it in July.

Inspectors found the department, which has historically performed much better than A&E at its sister hospital Queen’s, was struggling with huge demand.

When the Care Quality Commission visited the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, in October, some patients were waiting more than four hours to be seen and there were not enough consultants to give specialist care.

One patient had to be resuscitated and ended up in intensive care 12 hours after arriving in A&E because of possible bad care overnight, when staffing levels are lowest.

Temporary locum staff are being used to boost numbers and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) is trying to recruit more senior consultants, but improvements were not fast enough for the watchdog.

The trust is under orders to make urgent improvements after it was put into special measures following the findings at King George Hospital and Queen’s.

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, said he “feared for the worst” that the closure of A&E would be accelerated.

He added: “In my opinion, they should be doing it the other way around – I get far more complaints about Queen’s.

“We have got huge demand in this area and not enough resources to cope. You can’t fit a quart in pint pot.”

Ilford North MP Lee Scott said: “I don’t think you can have a more damning report than we’ve got.

“The bottom line is that this shows that there’s no way King George Hospital’s A&E can close.”

The department is set for the axe in late 2015 but the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said no changes will happen until the move is clinically safe.

It was not the only problem area found at King George, where inspectors found badly cleaned operating theatres and bad hygiene.

Nursing records were inconsistent and people were put at risk of infection in surgery.

During one procedure, two members of staff failed to wash their hands after answering the phone, and another was seen going into a sterile area after handling dirty surgical instruments.

Missing notes for patients transferred from other hospitals meant nurses did not know one person being treated had diabetes.

The report found that delayed discharges and full beds were slowing down patient movement through the hospital and frequent cancellations and staffing issues in outpatients was leading to poor care.

But staff were found to be kind and caring towards patients and many areas, including maternity, intensive care and paediatrics, were praised.

BHRUT chief executive Averil Dongworth said it would be “business as usual” at King George while improvements are carried out.

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