King George A&E to close in three years, proposals reveal

King George Hospital, in Goodmayes.

King George Hospital, in Goodmayes. - Credit: Archant

A provisional date has been set for the full closure of the A&E at King George Hospital – summer 2019.

A draft of the North East London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (NEL STP), which outlines the five year plan for NHS services in the area, has now been published.

It states that the full closure of the hospital’s A&E in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, will be completed by September 2019, to be replaced by an Urgent Care Unit.

The news comes despite decades of campaigning from residents and MPs to prevent the closure, and repeated assurances that the A&E would not close until Queen’s Hospital in Romford was out of special measures.

Last week the Recorder revealed that plans were in place for overnight closure at the hospital to begin from September next year, and now the STP has revealed that full closure will be accomplished by summer 2019.

Cllr Mark Santos, Redbridge council cabinet member for health and adult social care, stressed he would not automatically back the STP.

He said: “The council has not endorsed and has no intention of simply rubber stamping the sustainability and transformation plan for our local area.”

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He also stressed a healthcare funding gap meant changes had to be made, but vowed cuts would be made carefully.

He said: “This Labour council will continue to strongly advocate in the interest of residents, ensuring we have the best services that enable people to maintain and promote their health, wellbeing and independence.”

An STP spokesman insisted plans to close the A&E have been in place locally for many years.

“The STP is really a case of making it easier for doctors and patients to work across borough boundaries,” he said.

“In many cases, such as with the A&E at King George, we’ve had to consolidate existing local healthcare plans that had already been signed off by the secretary of state.”

Healthwatch Redbridge will now begin organising meetings to discuss the STP with residents before a final plan is written and submitted next April.

For full reaction to the news, pick up a copy of this week’s Ilford Recorder, on sale from tomorrow.