Time for new battle as hospital picketed over King George Hospital A&E
- Credit: Archant
Protesters picketed outside a hospital in their latest bid to save King George Hospital’s A&E department this morning.
The Save King George Hospital group met outside Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford, where a BHRUT [Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust] board meeting was due to take place.
The demonstration followed a campaign meeting on Friday to discuss the group’s next steps after the Recorder revealed initial planning for the downgrading of the A&E at the Barley Lane hospital would start in the next six to nine months.
In an interview with the paper Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of BHRUT, said plans were still in place to downgrade the department to a 24-hour urgent care centre.
At the meeting in Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, documents from the Integrated Care Coalition (ICC) – an advisory board to the three BHRUT boroughs – appearing to show Redbridge Council endorsing downgrade proposals were referred to by campaigners.
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But the council strongly reaffirmed its opposition to the downgrade after the meeting.
Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “The ICC’s Strategic Plan outlines this programme of change which has already delivered significant improvements to health and social care services across the borough for our residents.
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“While this references the decision to close the A&E, it is not supporting this as that decision has already been made.
“It is merely outlining strict criteria around how such a decision should be implemented. It is this overall plan that this council has endorsed and we remain strongly opposed to any decision which puts further pressure on vital accident and emergency services for our residents.”
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said he is pushing for a parliamentary petition for the hospital.
He added: “The end really is in sight and we need to inject some urgency into the campaign and make this a new campaign because we’re fighting something that’s about to take place unless we stop it.”
Campaigners are holding their next meeting on Friday, June 26, at the town hall.