King George A&E will still close despite special measures, says government minister

King George Hospital

King George Hospital - Credit: Archant

A health minister has confirmed that the closure of A&E at King George Hospital will go ahead despite a damning report that put the health trust in special measures.

Mike Gapes MP in the historic palace of Westminster.

Mike Gapes MP in the historic palace of Westminster. - Credit: Archant

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes started a House of Commons debate on Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) on Thursday to grill the government on the issue.

He called staff at King George Hospital, in Goodmayes, and Queen’s Hospital, in Romford “lions led by donkeys”.

The Labour MP said: “They are suffering from years, perhaps decades, of problems in the health service in north-east London.

“The fundamental issues are not being solved by whatever reorganisation is happening.”

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King George Hospital’s maternity ward was closed last year as part of the changes and A&E is set to shut in late 2015.

Services will be transferred to Queen’s but last month’s Care Quality Commission report found patients were at risk in both A&Es.

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Speaking at the debate, Jane Ellison, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, said there has been “no change” in the government’s position supporting service changes dating back to 2011.

She added: “The challenges facing the trust cannot be tackled alone and will best be tackled by the local NHS and all the partners working together.

“It is absolutely vital to get that right.”

Liz Kendall MP, the shadow health minister, said the government needs to “get a grip” on the NHS winter care crisis.

She was visiting Redbridge with Cllr Wes Streeting, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Ilford North, who said he was “extremely concerned” about long delays and poor service as a result of under-staffing.

Incumbent Conservative MP Lee Scott has campaigned to stop A&E closing since the plans were drawn up and has met with the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt, on the issue.

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