Sick children bypassing King George ‘by order’

Save King George Hospital supporters outside the hospital

Save King George Hospital supporters outside the hospital - Credit: Archant

Ambulances carrying young children in need of emergency care have been bypassing King George Hospital A&E for years, it has emerged.

Blue light calls involving young patients have been sent directly to Queen’s Hospital in Romford rather than the Goodmayes hospital since 2011.

The decision to re-direct ambulances was discovered in BHRUT documents earlier this month and comes as the trust admits it is no longer working towards a December 2014 deadline for closure.

Cllr Andy Walker, a campaigner for the Save King George Hospital A and E group, has criticised the decision to bypass King George which he says could put patients at risk.

“Was this decision really based on clinical considerations or on a desire to run down KGH to make it easier to eventually close it?” he said. “And are we now seeing a perfectly good children’s unit being deliberately underused so that there will be fewer objections to it being closed?

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“For over three years young children have been driven past that hospital, in need of urgent medical attention for no good reason. It’s just reasonable disclosure and scrutiny to be given the evidence.”

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes suggested that the decision to bypass King George A and E was further proof of the “running down” of the hospital.

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“What we really need is open transparency about what is the future for King George A and E,” he said. “I would like the government to go back to rethink the whole plan so that we still have an A and E because we have already lost our maternity ward. It is not safe and it is not in the interests of local people.”

Ilford North MP Lee Scott, who met with BHRUT’s new chief executive Matthew Hopkins earlier this week, said ensuring patients receive the best possible care is paramount, wherever that might be.

“We have agreed any such things we will be told about in the future because it is important that everything is done in the right way,” he added.

Hospital chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “We have made it very clear that the policy to transport acutely unwell children directly to Queen’s Hospital rather than King George was introduced following a clinically-led review of children’s services in 2010.

“The decision made by London Ambulance Service and the trust was supported by our commissioners and shared with the council at the time via the Joint Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee.”

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