Demand for consultation over axing of Redbridge’s labour unit rejected by health chiefs

Calls for a new consultation over radical changes to maternity services in and around Redbridge have been rejected by health chiefs.

Labour Cllr Andy Walker urged health bosses to consult with the public on plans to close the labour unit at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes and ask pregnant women to have their babies at an alternative hospital.

But Heather Mullin, programme director for NHS North East London and the City, said: “I believe we have already consulted. If you’re asking for a consultation it’s very difficult for us to support that but you have to say what you want us to consult on.”

Cllr Walker’s recommendation urging a consultation was ultimately agreed by a majority of councillors at Tuesday’s health scrutiny committee meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has been written to by council chief executive Roger Hampson, calling for him to review the plans to close both King George’s A&E and labour unit.

Wanstead resident Helen Zammett, speaking at the meeting, said: “We need full public disclosure of the outline business case, the workforce strategy for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and the bed forecasts.”

“This is as well as public consultation on the closure of St George’s [in Hornchurch], the new maternity plan and the workforce strategy.

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Yesterday marked the first anniversary of former health secretary Andrew Lansley’s approval of the closure plans, subject to the health trust meeting recommendations imposed by the Care Quality Commission.