Health minister: King George Hospital A&E closure plan is being assessed to ensure it is still appropriate

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes outside King George Hospital's A&E. Mike has been battling to save the A&

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes outside King George Hospital's A&E. Mike has been battling to save the A&E from closure for more than 10 years. Picture: Mike Gapes - Credit: Mike Gapes

The health minister has said the decision to close King George Hospital’s A&E is being reviewed to “ensure the proposals are still appropriate”.

Philip Dunne was responding to Ilford South MP Mike Gapes’ adjournment debate on the future of the emergency department, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, with a written response.

He said: “NHS England recognises there have been a number of changes since the decision was first made, and has provided assurances that procedures are in place to ensure that the proposals remain appropriate and relevant including:

“The STP team is reviewing and revalidating the modelling used in 2010 to ensure that the proposals are still appropriate.”

In 2011, the then health secretary Andrew Lansley agreed north east London’s sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) proposal, part of which saw King George Hospital’s A&E get downgraded to an urgent care centre.

Since then there has been a concerted cross party campaign to protect the emergency unit.

During the general election Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said King George’s A&E would not close “in the foreseeable future”.

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The health minister reiterated that the closure would not take place until it was clinically safe to do so, and stated Queen’s Hospital in Romford, would have to increase its capacity first.

It is widely acknowledged that the 2019 closure date is looking unlikely for this reason.

Mr Dunne revealed that Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) board members, the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) board and the STP would have to agree on the business case to downgrade the emergency unit again.

He added: “The local NHS has concluded that the change to the A&E is necessary because better and more sustainable emergency care can be provided if the expert staff and specialist equipment are concentrated in the area’s larger units.”

Veteran Labour MP Mr Gapes commented: “The dire reality is that there is no additional resource available to provide the beds for 400 patients at King George overall. If the A&E closed, where would those patients go.

“There would be a need for capital investment at Queen’s and for big capital investment at Whipps Cross.”

He added: “I once again urge the Government to take the plans to close A&E services at King George Hospital off the agenda.”