December 7 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Thursday, September 26, 2013
More than 300 beds are being closed at King George Hospital as part of a restructure criticised as “decimating” services.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes says wards are being closed down “by stealth” as “out-dated” plans stretching back to 2010 are implemented.
Only 47 beds will be left at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, by 2017, after 336 close as part of a shake-up of services at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, Whipps Cross, Leytonstone, Homerton, Hackney and the Royal London, Whitechapel.
More than half of King George Hospital’s site could be sold or rented out to make £9.5million.
Health commissioners insist the proposals have been “in the public domain” but the report detailing changes are not available on the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) or North and East London Commissioning Support Unit websites.
The closure of Holly Ward earlier this month warranted only a retrospective notice on the BHRUT website – and another ward is set to close later this year.
BHRUT said services are being “centralised” in different hospitals as part of care improvement plans, but the closure came as a surprise to leading campaigners. Mr Gapes said: “They are basically decimating the hospital until it ceases to be a hospital in all but name.
“By stealth they are salami slicing services. We’ve already seen maternity go and now they are closing other wards.”
Ilford North MP Lee Scott plans to raise the issues with health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
He said: “I don’t believe decisions made in 2010 are still valid now.”
The plans were drawn up before the 2011 census exposed the rocketing birth rates and population in Redbridge and surrounding boroughs.
A spokesman for the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group said figures used in the plans have been regularly updated and King George will still play an “integral part” in healthcare for residents.
He added: “Patients and local GPs want services that are available closer to home or in the community and our vision for King George Hospital will give us the right premises to deliver these services.
“Our plans are designed to ensure safe, high quality services now and in the future.”