Ilford South MP Mike Gapes questions King George A&E closure plan

King George Hospital, in Goodmayes.

King George Hospital, in Goodmayes. - Credit: Archant

Veteran Ilford South MP Mike Gapes has stressed plans to close Redbridge’s only A&E department must face “the hard test of reality” before the move goes ahead.

Mr Gapes, who has campaigned against the proposed closure for a decade, does not think plans contained in the draft copy of the North East London Sustainability and Transformation plan are realistic.

Under the five-year plan, King George Hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, would transition from a full A&E to an Urgent Care Centre by Summer 2019.

“I don’t believe it, I don’t think it’s possible and I don’t think it’s going to happen by 2019,” Mr Gapes told the Recorder.

“I think it’s good that they’re forward planning and thinking about how to save money, but I also think these plans are going to come up against the hard test of reality.

“To close the A&E at King George is going to require large amounts of capital investment – and the trust also needs to come out of special measures before it can happen.”

A spokesman for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs both King George and Queen’s hospitals, was optimistic that the hospital in Romford would be out of special measures well before the 2019 deadline.

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Chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “We were very pleased to welcome our CQC colleagues when they came in to re-inspect our hospitals recently.

“I hope they recognise the many improvements we have made to patient care across our hospitals and look forward to receiving their report.”