See prime minister Theresa May’s response to Wes Streeting’s question on King George A&E at PMQs
PUBLISHED: 14:39 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:02 06 September 2017
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting today called on Theresa May to reverse the decision to close King George Hospital’s A&E at prime minster’s questions (PMQs).
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Labour MP quizzed the prime minister on the future of Redbridge’s only emergency department.
He said: “Clinicians don’t believe it will be safe, commissioners and providers don’t believe it will be feasible, so isn’t it now time for ministers to reverse the decision they took in 2011 to close the accident and emergency department at King George Hospital?”
Mrs May responded with a short answer, which shed little light on the future of the A&E.
She told Mr Streeting: “I say we have been very clear that when decisions are taken, we want those decisions to be taken at a local level with clinical advice, and that is exactly what the department of health is doing.”
Watch the exchange by clicking here.
Speaking to the Recorder after PMQs, Mr Streeting said: “I thought the prime minister’s response was deeply unhelpful and completely misguided.
“What Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt do not seem to understand is that decisions cannot be taken locally as our local NHS providers’ hands are tied by a ministerial decision in 2011.”
Mr Streeting said he would be pressuring the health secretary to take “the spirit of what Theresa May said”, and reverse the decision to allow the local NHS trust to come up with a solution.
The Ilford North MP said he firmly believed healthcare would be improved by keeping the under fire A&E open.
The emergency unit, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, has been slated for closure since 2011, when the then health secretary Andrew Lansley took the decision to downgrade it to an urgent care centre.
Earlier this year a date was set for 2019, however trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins cast doubt over this in March when Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) came out of special measures.
He explained the emergency department couldn’t be downgraded until the A&E at Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, is expanded to meet the extra demand.
During the general election, Mr Hunt told the Recorder that he could not see the A&E closing “anytime soon”.
There has been a cross party campaign in Redbridge to stop the closure, and Mr Streeting said this would continue through the autumn.
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