Election 2017: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – The future of King George Hospital A&E is on the ballot paper on Thursday
PUBLISHED: 16:00 04 June 2017
Sadiq Khan claimed the decision facing Redbridge’s voters on Thursday was a “no-brainer” for people who care about the NHS on a visit to King George Hospital yesterday.
Mr Khan, who recently helped launch incumbent Mr Streeting’s campaign to hold Ilford North for Labour, was appearing at the Goodmayes hospital alongside Mr Streeting and Ilford South candidate Mike Gapes.
Speaking exclusively to the Recorder, the Mayor of London said: “On the ballot paper this Thursday is the future of King George A&E, it’s as simple as that.
“The Tories are serial promise breakers and they have shown that they don’t believe in the NHS by their actions over the last seven years.
“Frankly speaking, if you use King George Hospital and if you care about the A&E, the maternity department and the NHS in general then to me it’s a no brainer.”
Mr Khan went on to discuss a similar situation he had seen in Enfield North in 2010, when campaigning Conservatives had promised that the Chase Farm Hospital A&E unit would remain open despite the threat of closure.
In 2013, despite the fact a Conservative candidate was elected in 2010, the unit closed.
The Mayor of London went on to launch a scathing attack on Conservative candidate Mr Scott.
He said: “Compare and contrast Wes with the previous Tory MP [Mr Scott], who was in Parliament at the same time as me.
“He wouldn’t say boo to a goose. He just does whatever he is told by his leadership.”
Last month, Conservative health secretary Jeremy Hunt appeared to cast doubt over the closure of the King George A&E whilst visiting the constituency to give Mr Scott his unequivocal backing.
At the time he said such a drastic change in local healthcare would not happen “in the foreseeable future”, as other local hospitals are not yet adequately prepared.
Mr Scott has also accused Mr Streeting of electioneering by claiming the A&E is still under threat.
He said: “Labour are scare mongering, they are damaging staff morale and this is putting vulnerable people at risk.”
The issue was further clouded after Queen’s Hospital in Romford came out of special measures earlier this year.
At the time, the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital’s Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins told the Recorder there were “still a lot of decisions to be made” regarding the threatened A&E.
But Mr Streeting was adamant it was the Conservatives who were not being honest with the electorate.
He said: “They have been misleading voters about the A&E’s future, about their plans to safeguard it and the simple fact is that the closure decision has already been taken by the government.
“The only reason it hasn’t closed already is because the two local trusts were in special measures and there is still a fighting chance to reverse the decision and close the A&E but only if we fight for it.”
“On Thursday the people of Ilford North have a simple choice – a Conservative yes man who will do as he’s told even as the government are about to close his local A&E, or a Labour MP who will fight to save it.”
Ilford South candidate Mr Gapes, who has fought plans to downgrade the A&E since 2006, was similarly clear.
He told the Recorder: “Jeremy Hunt has always refused to rule out the closure of the A&E.
“When he came down he only said it would remain open for the foreseeable future.
“Now I don’t know how far-reaching a crystal ball he has got, but actually that doesn’t mean there are no plans to close it.
“The plans from local healthcare services still show the closure scheduled in there for 2019.
“It is still in there, and even if the timetable slips a little bit, they have not made the decision to take it off the table.”
The Recorder weighed up both sides of the long-running argument surrounding King George Hospital in a special fact check on the issue that can be read here.