Hospital trust staff admit King George closure rumours make life ‘stressful’

West Streeting addressing King George A&E campaigners at Redbridge Town Hall

West Streeting addressing King George A&E campaigners at Redbridge Town Hall - Credit: Wes Streeting

A staff member at the trust which runs King George Hospital has admitted constant rumours about its future do affect workers.

Last month a new campaign to Save King George A&E was launched over plans to downgrade the department to an urgent care centre, and centralise A&E at Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

While the proposal was initially put forward 10 years ago, continued doubts about the ability of Queen’s to handle an increased workload and claims King George A&E could soon start closing at night have resulted in a new campaign.

Clinical commissioners and the trust, which is in special measures, have repeatedly said changes cannot be implemented until clinically safe to do so.

Staff at the trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) said yesterday they understand residents’ frustration at the lack of a clear plan.

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Victoria Wallen, a member of the trust’s PALS team, said: “All the worry about King George closing down does make life a bit more stressful, but mainly because it’s so much rumour and speculation. Nothing’s ever confirmed, so our line is to wait for an official announcement one way or the other.

“Obviously that’s difficult for some patients to deal with, and we appreciate that, but we’ve improved a lot with being more open and honest, and the last thing we want to do is give our patients the wrong information.”

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More than 200 campaigners gathered at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, on Thursday night to launch the new campaign to save the hospital’s A&E.

Present were representatives from a number of Redbridge charities, and the event also received support from members of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Residents at the standing-room only event heard from Dr Tony O’Sullivan and Vicky Penner, who both played a large role in saving the A&E at University Hospital Lewisham from closure.

Labour MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting, organised the event, and was extremely pleased with the turnout, although he stressed the need for the entire community to work together to prevent the A&E from closure.

“Local MPs and councillors will fight for our A&E, but the whole community needs to rally together if we’re to save it,” he said.

“My message to residents is simple: when it’s gone, it’s gone. We must all pull together to save the A&E at King George Hospital.”

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