Doctor’s Christmas message to Redbridge: Great news, your A&E is to close!
A “DISGUSTING” comment has led to a doctor being accused of celebrating the closure of King George Hospital’s accident and emergency.
“Great news” is how Dr Mike Gill greeted last week’s unanimous decision to axe the A&E and labour ward at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.
But his comments, labelled arrogant by an MP, have infuriated campaigners fighting for King George’s future.
Dr Gill, joint clinical director for Health for North East London (HFNEL) and medical director and consultant geriatrician at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, said: “The changes to hospital services agreed are great news for the people of north east London.
“Finally we can plan changes to services so that we can provide the level of care local residents deserve.
“We have met with thousands of people since consultation began last year and almost everyone agrees that services need to change so we can drive up the quality of hospital services.”
But HFNEL’s own public consultation found 65 per cent of people do not want A&E and maternity services to be moved.
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Hitting out at Dr Gill’s comments, which came after a vote by the joint committee of PCTs on the proposals, council leader Cllr Keith Prince said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that Dr Gill can say this.
“The closure of King George Hospital’s A&E and the only maternity unit in the area, meaning an end to births – if that’s good news for north east London he’s on another planet. It’s a disgrace.”
Labour Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said: “He’s celebrating the closure of our A&E and maternity services.
“He works in Newham. He wouldn’t be celebrating if it was his hospital affected.
“It shows a level of arrogance.”
Campaigners are now pinning their hopes on Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, who could still overturn the decision if he’s asked by Redbridge Council to review the plans.