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Claims patients being turned away from under-threat Wanstead Hospital are ‘strongly refuted’

PUBLISHED: 07:01 26 September 2014

The George in Wanstead was packed for the Saving Wanstead Hospital public meeting.
Pic: MAREK PACZYNSKI PHOTOGRAPHY

The George in Wanstead was packed for the Saving Wanstead Hospital public meeting. Pic: MAREK PACZYNSKI PHOTOGRAPHY

Marekp©2014

Claims patients are being turned away from Wanstead Hospital in an effort to make demand for beds appear lower, have been categorically denied by the trust running it.

Claims patients are being turned away from Wanstead Hospital in an effort to make demand for beds appear lower have been categorically denied by the trust running it.

Nelft (North East London NHS Foundation Trust) said the allegations were “unfounded” after they were voiced at a packed public meeting about the hospital’s Heronwood and Galleon intermediate care units.

The wards, which provide 24-hour care and rehab after operations and illness, have been earmarked for closure by Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), sparking a campaign by the Wanstead and Snaresbrook Residents’ Alliance (WaSRA).

At The George pub in Wanstead on Wednesday of last week, Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer (Labour) said he had been contacted by four employees of the trust claiming patients were being sent to other units – despite an ongoing public consultation – to keep numbers down at the 48-bed site.

But Redbridge CCG chief operating officer, Louise Mitchell, said it had “no tangible evidence” that was happening.

Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge CCGs plan to reduce intermediate care beds from 104 and centralise them at King George Hospital, which will have 40, increasing to 61 if needed.

Patients’ relatives at the meeting also claimed staff had told them they could only use 17 beds.

But Caroline O’Donnell, integrated care director at Nelft, said beds were being used “if needed”.

A woman who said she worked at the unit then asked why patients from Redbridge were being sent to other hospitals, including Gray’s Court in Dagenham which is also due to close, and whether it was to “give the impression that demand for beds at Wanstead had been reduced”.

She claimed patients were being kept at Whipps Cross Hospital and told no beds were available, while staff at Wanstead had been ordered to use a “restricted allocation”.

But Ms O’Donnell said: “As far as I’m aware staff haven’t been given that information.”

A spokesman for Nelft said afterwards: “These allegations are unfounded and we strongly refute them.”

She said patients were transferred to the “most appropriate” inpatient unit for their medical needs, with more being treated at home by new community treatment teams and intensive rehabilitation service.

The consultation ends on October 15 at 5pm.


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