Hands off our Hospital: Doctor’s warning on Redbridge A&E closure threat

�A doctor who has worked at an A&E under threat of closure has revealed what he says is the true picture behind closed doors, insisting people will “die” if the decision is made to axe the unit.

Just days before a critical moment in the battle to save King George Hospital’s A&E, Dr Anil Shah has spoken to the Recorder about life working on the department in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

He said: “It is almost always overflowing with patients. It’s running at full capacity every day.

“Without both hospitals being in operation [King George and Queen’s Hospital, Romford], patients will have a lot longer to wait and worse care.”

Next week a panel of people with expertise in healthcare will advise Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley whether King George’s A&E and labour ward should close, after a full review into the controversial proposals was ordered earlier this year.

Dr Shah, 30, of Newbury Park, said: “The distances patients will have to travel if the A&E closes could seriously affect their health. They could die on route.”

The medical doctor who worked at King George’s A&E for two years until February said ambulances were often diverted to King George, and vice versa, when the wards were overstretched.

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He said: “We were always looking for beds [to free up space in the A&E] because we were struggling at King George. We’d ask for early discharges to help free up space.”

The doctor of seven years denied claims many patients who use the A&E do not need urgent care and claimed morale was “low” among staff working on the ward.

Health for North East London’s closure proposals were put on the table in their current guise in late 2009.

It says King George will have 24/7 urgent care services if its plans are approved.

It adds the changes are being proposed on the basis of “significant clinical benefits” and denies claims extended travel time will compromise patient care.

To see the full proposals, log on to www.healthfornel.nhs.uk.