Ilford South MP Mike Gapes raises concerns over King George Hospital's A&E ahead of winter
PUBLISHED: 12:47 14 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:48 14 November 2013
King George Hospital's (KGH) A&E department is braced for a winter of discontent as top doctors warn of a nationwide crisis.
Campaigners are concerned about how the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, will cope this winter following a report by College of Emergency Medicine president Dr Cliff Mann which outlined that A&E departments in England are facing their “worst crisis on record.”
Figures revealed this week show Redbridge’s hospital trust consistently failed to hit government A&E waiting time targets in the past year.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday there would be a “proper review” before any changes were made to service delivery at KGH.
There are proposals to close the hospital’s A&E unit by 2015 with Queen’s Hospital in Romford due to handle the extra numbers.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said he is concerned about how KGH will deal with the inevitable increased demand during the winter months.
“I am extremely worried about how our hospital will cope with what has been described as being probably the worst winter on record,” said Mr Gapes.
“I am also very concerned the A&E waiting times are not only well below target for this year but actually show a substantial fall in performance against this time last year.
“In terms of Jeremy Hunt’s announcement, I am not convinced the government has changed its stance on closing the A&E unit at KGH.
“I will be continuing the fight to protect services at the hospital.”
On Tuesday, Health Secretary Mr Hunt announced any changes at KGH would be subject to a “proper review” after the “serious situation” was raised with him by Ilford North MP Lee Scott in the House of Commons.
Independent Redbridge councillor Andy Walker, a leading member of the Save KGH Campaign, welcomed Mr Hunt’s statement.
“It’s clearly fantasy to say the A&E unit can be closed safely by 2015,” said Cllr Walker.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Averil Dongworth said the trust was prepared for the challenges of the winter.
“We have robust and detailed plans which we have developed with our health and social care partner including opening additional beds, embedding seven-day working – so we have expert consultant cover on our wards, and social care teams in the community available every day – and opening GP surgeries in Havering at weekends,” she said.
“We will be carefully monitoring performance over the winter months and will take any action necessary to ensure that patients are receiving high quality care in the most appropriate setting.”