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Redbridge’s maternity unit at King George Hospital will close for good in days, health chiefs decide

PUBLISHED: 14:08 07 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:02 07 March 2013

King George Hospital's labour unit has been under threat of closure for years

King George Hospital's labour unit has been under threat of closure for years

Archant

Redbridge’s maternity unit at King George Hospital will close in a matter of days, after a board meeting this afternoon wielded the axe on it.

The labour unit at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, has been under threat for years, and was earmarked for closure most recently under the Health for North East London proposals unveiled in late 2009.

But in 2011, then secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley said closure could not happen until certain tests were passed.

Most of those related to failings at the maternity unit in Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

But after a two-day visit to the unit in December, the Care Quality Commission found it met all standards including care and welfare; safety, availability and suitability of equipment; and staffing

The board of NHS North East London and the City (NELC) today made the final decision to stop all births at the hospital, during their meeting at Becketts House, Ilford Hill, Ilford.

There will be no more births at the unit from March 18.

The board of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust approved the plans last night.

Redbridge Council’s health scrutiny committee reacted furiously to the decision to move the NELC meeting from March 27 to today, the same day as its own meeting – meaning there was be no time for the committee’s feedback to reach the board.

Chairman Cllr Joyce Ryan has written to the chief executive of NELC, Alwen Williams.

She wrote: “This sends a clear message that my committee’s views are simply not valued.

“This is unacceptable and means that even if my committee wished to endorse the positive work that has ‘allegedly’ been achieved, it is now not able to do so.”

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said local residents views had “never been taken into account” when considering stopping births at King George.

He added: “If this goes through it will mean women in Barking can have children in Barking, women in Havering can have children in Havering but women in Redbridge can’t have their children in the borough.

“They might be providing a specialist service but they could have done it here.

“NELC has been determined to downgrade services at King George and it is a sad day for mothers in Ilford.”

Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, has expanded its maternity services with a new birth centre.

The closure means women will give birth at surrounding hospitals, leaving antenatal clinics, scans and parenting education at King George.

Meanwhile, the planned closure of King George Hospital’s A&E has been put on ice while health chiefs try to allow for the expected increase in demand at neighbouring A&E units the ward’s axing will bring.


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