King George Hospital A&E’s overnight closure plans cancelled

King George Hospital.

King George Hospital. - Credit: Archant

Plans to close King George Hospital’s A&E over night later this year have been cancelled, but the department is still on track to be permanently closed by 2019.

In an email seen by the Recorder, Jane Milligan, executive lead for the North East London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (NEL STP), revealed plans to close the Goodmayes A&E overnight have been shelved.

She said: “It is our intention to make the changes by 2019 but please be assured nothing will happen until we are fully satisfied all the necessary resources are in place, including the additional capacity at the neighbouring hospitals, and we have made sure it is safe for our patients.

“In the meantime, the existing A&E facilities at King George will continue to operate as now.

“We were considering an option to close the unit at night later this year but have decided not to go ahead with it.

“This is to avoid any confusion among the public as we want all of the new arrangements in place and properly publicised and explained before we introduce them.”

The STP is drawn up in line with the NHS’s Five Year Forward Plan, which aims to save money by increasing efficiency across the service.

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In November the Recorder reported that plans were in place that would see King George’s A&E close overnight by September 2017 before being fully transitioned to an urgent care unit by 2019.

Andy Walker, a former councillor and campaigner for the Save King George Hospital A&E group welcomed the news the night closures would no longer go ahead, but stressed the long-fought overall closure by 2019 was still the wrong move for Redbridge.

He told the Recorder: “It’s a small step in the right direction, but it’s also shown exactly what this process is all about, which is managing the decline of the NHS.

“They simply haven’t got the doctors to be able to keep King George open. We pay to keep bankers here in England and we should pay to keep doctors here.”

A final draft of the NEL STP plan is due to be written and submitted by April.