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PricewaterhouseCoopers hired to compile report on King George A&E closure plan

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 October 2017

Ilford North Labour MP Wes Streeting leads the chant at a march to save King George Hospital's A&E, on 18th March 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Ilford North Labour MP Wes Streeting leads the chant at a march to save King George Hospital's A&E, on 18th March 2017. Picture: Catherine Davison

Catherine Davison/Archant

Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group has requested a leading consultancy compile a report into the closure of King George Hospital’s A&E department.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is studying a number of key parts of the proposal, including activity shifts, capacity and the financial impact.

Plans to turn the borough’s only A&E, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, into an urgent care centre were pushed through in 2011, and in November last year the scheduled closure date was announced for 2019.

There has been a strong cross party campaign across north east London to save the A&E, and its trust’s chief executive Matthew Hopkins cast doubt on the closure in March, saying: “There are still a lot decisions to be made.”

And with the revelation of the PwC report, it appears the CCG is rexamining the plan.

A spokeswoman said: “The decision to make changes to the A&E at King George Hospital was made in 2011 and much has changed since then.

“Because of the challenges we face as a healthcare system across east London, it makes sense to look at how urgent and emergency care is provided locally taking these into account.

“As part of this work, we asked PwC to look into a range of key assurance areas, including activity shifts, capacity, financial impact, capital required, and demographic change.”

The report was revealed by Redbridge Conservatives group leader Cllr Paul Canal, in an open letter he sent to campaigner Andy Walker.

Cllr Canal wrote: “It is clear that not only was the original decision flawed, but the new ‘facts on the ground’ make any downgrading untenable.

“The formal route to ending this madness is the publication of the Price Waterhouse review. Its contents confirm the views of residents and councillors.

“I continue to urge immediate publication of the PW review. It will be the final nail in the coffin for this flawed plan.”

Cllr Canal added that “based on both evidence to the working group and my own conversations with senior ministers and civil servants” King George A&E “is not closing”.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, who also sits on Redbridge Council’s working group on the future of the A&E, urged caution.

He said: “We have known for some time that senior figures in the NHS locally share our doubts about the planned closure of the A&E at King George Hospital and have commissioned PwC to look at the issue with a fresh pair of eyes, but unless and until the secretary of state reverses the closure decision our A&E remains under threat.

“I believe with every fibre of my being that any independent analysis of the closure plan will show that it can’t be safely delivered, so I hope we will see PwC’s work very shortly and I urge the government to reverse the closure decision and set the NHS free to develop an alternative plan that safeguards the long term future of our A&E and genuinely meets the needs of our growing, ageing population.”

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