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Scrap ‘ridiculous’ plan to close King George Hospital A&E, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told

PUBLISHED: 18:15 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:16 11 September 2017

Public demonstration outside Redbridge Town Hall urging councillors to oppose the NHS's current sustainability and transformation plan which would close King George Hospital's A&E department. (Credit: Ken Mears)

Public demonstration outside Redbridge Town Hall urging councillors to oppose the NHS's current sustainability and transformation plan which would close King George Hospital's A&E department. (Credit: Ken Mears)

Ken Mears

Political leaders in Redbridge have urged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to reverse the controversial proposals to close A&E at King George Hospital.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, Cllr Mark Santos, Cllr Jas Athwal and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, Cllr Mark Santos, Cllr Jas Athwal and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting

Councillor Mark Santos, cabinet member for health and social care, delivered the letter by hand to the Department for Health this afternoon.

The accident and emergency department at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes is set to be changed to an urgent care centre in 2019.

He was joined by Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes in calling for the decision to close King George A&E, taken in 2011, to be reversed.

Councillor Santos called for Mr Hunt to listen to the letter.

He said: “The health of Redbridge residents is the highest priority.

“I know from my discussions with local residents and clinicians that there is a great deal of concern over the plans to close the A&E.

“I struggle to find anyone in the NHS locally who thinks this can be achieved in 2019.

He added: “The local situation has changed, and so it is now time for this decision to be looked at again to make sure there remains an effective A&E service in the borough.”

In April, a petition containing 10,000 signatures was delivered to the House of Commons by Wes Streeting.

He said: “Jeremy Hunt came to my constituency during the election to say that he could not see the hospital closing ‘for the foreseeable future’.

“After casting that doubt, we’re here to keep up the pressure.

“The Prime Minister said last week at PMQs that decisions about KGH should be taken locally.

“It’s time for the 2011 decision to be reversed so that our NHS locally can develop a better plan for health in North East London.”

In March, more than a thousand campaigners young and old marched to Redbridge Town Hall to show their support for the A&E department.

Councillor Jas Athwal said: “The borough’s population is estimated to grow significantly over the next 15 years, with the population expected to reach 362,000 by 2030 – the King George A&E is an important vital service that will be increasingly utilised as the borough grows – it must remain open.

“This isn’t about politics, it’s about saving lives.”

A Save King George A&E meeting is taking place tonight at 7pm at Romford Central Library, in St Edwards Way, Romford.

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