Leading doctor says King George Hospital will be ‘centre of excellence’ after bed closures

Dr Mehta is the head of the new Redbridge Clincal Commissioning group.

Dr Mehta is the head of the new Redbridge Clincal Commissioning group. - Credit: Archant

A leading Redbridge doctor has disputed claims that the closure of more than 300 beds will “decimate” King George Hospital.

Last week, the Recorder detailed restructure plans for the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, which could leave 47 beds and services including planned surgery and diagnostics by 2017.

Dr Anil Mehta is the chairman of the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group, which has taken over the work of primary care trusts to commission hospital care.

In a letter to the Recorder, he said King George Hospital would become a “centre of excellence” for local people.

He added: “This will house 24/7 urgent care services and high quality planned care.

“Current plans also include outpatients, diagnostics, day cases, children’s services, GPs, dialysis and therapies all being based at King George.

“So the hospital will have an integral role in meeting the health needs of local people for the future as well as providing some specialist services for the wider population.”

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Many services are being moved to Queen’s Hospital in Romford, following maternity in April and gastroenterology with the closure of Holly Ward last month.

The hospital’s A&E is scheduled to shut in 2015 but not until the move is “clinically safe”.

Dr Mehta said mums are receiving “safer and better care than before” at the expanded maternity unit at Queen’s Hospital.

He added: “We believe the same will eventually apply to A&E.

“By putting the best consultants, equipment and expertise in one place, patients will receive better care and get well sooner.”

Residents, councillors and MPs have been campaigning against the closure of A&E for years.

Last week, Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said the changes would “decimate” King George Hospital “until it ceases to be a hospital in all but name”.

Ilford North MP Lee Scott plans to raise the issues with health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

For the full letter from Dr Mehta, see Thursday’s Recorder.