Council will debate King George Hospital closure plans after petition draws 2,500 signatures

The future of King George Hospital’s A&E and maternity services will be debated by Redbridge Council after a petition drew 2,500 signatures.

It was confirmed yesterday that a motion calling on the council to oppose the planned closures of the two units at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, will be heard on September 20.

The Save King George Hospital (SKGH) campaign group wants the council to write to the government seeking that the 2011 decision to close the units be withdrawn.

The services are set to be moved to Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford.

Neil Zammett, a SKGH member, said plans for a 2014 transfer were revealed at a Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting last month.

On the campaign’s blog, Mr Zammett said Nick Hulme, a project manager at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), said there are also plans for a new building at Queen’s to “improve workflow in the [A&E] department”.

Mr Zammett said: “One of the key factors in approval for the scheme will be affordability; if it costs too much the closure of A&E at King George will be off the agenda for the foreseeable future.”

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A BHRUT spokesman said today there are currently no dates for the transfer of any services between the two hospitals.

She said: “We are concentrating on continuing to improve care for our patients. “It has been made clear that no changes will be made until we, and our partners, are confident that we are providing the very highest quality care.

“We are looking at extending the A&E department at Queen’s, but this is still in the very early stages. “Plans would have to go through several approval processes before funding was released centrally.”

Cllr Andy Walker, who has campaigned against the transfer of services, said: “We need to lobby the secretary of state to review the decision because of recent developments.

“They want to put in a building at Queen’s that was never in the original plan, it’s going to cost large sums of money.

“Why do that when there’s a perfectly good hospital at King George?”

Mr Walker said he will also lobby the government and the council to support calls for a risk assessment of the transfer of services to be undertaken.

This has also previously been requested by Ilford MPs Mike Gapes and Lee Scott.

The council meeting will be held at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford.