Hands Off Our Hospital: Doctors join battle to keep A&E open

CAMPAIGNING doctors have put their names to a petition which will land on the desk of the man charged with deciding whether to close King George Hospital’s A&E.

Fourteen Redbridge GPs have so far publicly spoken out against the closure of the A&E and labour ward at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes – and more are expected to follow suit.

The petition has been spearheaded by Dr Naheed Bukhari, who works at Fencepiece Road Medical Centre, Fenecpiece Road, Hainault.

She said: “I can’t imagine what would happen if the A&E closed.

“It would take patients in Hainault at least 30 minutes to get to Queen’s Hospital [Romford] and there’s no direct bus route.

“We don’t want it to close.”

Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley has been asked to look at the proposals by Redbridge Council, which unanimously opposed the closure of services at King George during a meeting last week.

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Dr Rowena Cameron-Mowat, of Forest Edge Practice, Manford Way, Hainault, has also put her name to the petition, which says the closure plans would be “detrimental to the health and welfare of our patients”.

She said: “King George is a very busy casualty.

“I don’t think Queen’s will be able to cope.”

Dr Cameron-Mowat, who has worked in Redbridge for 29 years as a health professional, added: “They’re talking about an urgent care centre, but what’s the definition of an urgent care centre?

“For example, can I send a geriatric patient there?”

A separate petition signed by patients has amassed about 700 signatures.

Both petitions are due to be given to Mr Lansley via one of the borough’s MPs, who themselves are set to meet with him for a crunch meeting on the decision he has been charged with making.

Health for North East London, which has devised the plans, says it “welcomes” the proposals being considered by an independent body.