D-Day for under threat Redbridge hospital

THE health secretary “will” be asked to step in and halt proposals to axe King George Hospital’s A&E and maternity services, it has been said.

Redbridge Council’s health scrutiny committee will meet at the end of January to decide whether to refer the planned closures – which are expected to be given the green light this evening – to Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley.

One of the committee’s members, Labour Cllr Andy Walker, has told the Recorder he would be “absolutely stunned” if the plans were rubber stamped by his peers.

He said: “After seeing the party leaders speaking out against the plans, it would be an enormous outrage if they rolled over.”

The 15 committee members, of which 11 are councillors headed by Conservative chairman Cllr Chris Cummins, will meet on January 27 to review the decision made by the joint committee of PCTs.

They will meet tonight in Stratford Old Town Hall, Stratford, to decide whether to cut key services from the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

Cllr Cummins said: “The chances that it will be referred [to Andrew Lansley] are very strong.

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He added: “I’m not convinced the changes proposed are in the interests of Redbridge residents.

“It will put an undue strain on the A&E at Queen’s.”

The borough’s MPs and councillors have come together to voice their opposition to the proposals, which critics fear will cost lives.

Conservative Ilford North MP Lee Scott said he was “hopeful” the hospital services would be saved form the axe by the joint committee of PCTs.

He said: “If it’s referred to the secretary of state, at that stage I will ask for further meetings with him and my colleagues so we can make representations.

“He’s quite rightly not said anything on the matter in public because he can not pre-judge the findings.”

Anyone interested in attending tonight’s meeting, which starts at 6pm, will need to register by emailing healthfornel@elca.nhs.uk, or calling 020 7092 5233.