Children’s emergency department at King George Hospital to close overnight during the winter

King George Hospital in Goodmayes. Photo: Ken Mears

King George Hospital in Goodmayes. Photo: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Patients will not be able to use King George Hospital’s emergency department for children overnight during the winter as part of plans to help manage the coronavirus pandemic.

From Monday, November 16 the department will be closed between 9pm and 9am, with parents advised that any child needing to be seen during those hours will be told to go to Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford instead.

Both hospitals are run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, (BHRUT) which is seeking to reassure parents that children will still be provided with the same safe care.

It has taken the temporary measure to help keep youngsters safe as several paediatricians are shielding during the pandemic. In addition, there are a number of staff vacancies that it is still trying to fill.

Chief medical officer, Dr Magda Smith, said: “This is a Covid measure for Covid times.

“The children’s emergency department will be closed between 9pm and 9am so please do not bring your child there during these hours.

“This is because there will be no specialist children’s doctor on duty.”

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The closure comes after the children’s inpatient ward at the Barley Lane, Goodmayes hospital was closed earlier this year to look after patients with Covid-19.

It will remain shut throughout the winter and all children who need to stay in hospital will be admitted to the children’s ward at Queen’s Hospital.

The trust said that it is committed to re-opening King George Hospital’s paediatric emergency department overnight as soon as it is safe to do so, with the hope that this will be by April 2021.

Dr Smith added: “We know it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured.

“If you need advice, and your child has an urgent, but not life-threatening, health problem, please contact 111 first.

“This can be done either online or by phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and the service is free to use, including from all mobiles. If it’s a life-threatening emergency, phone 999.”