Search

Long history of Hornchurch landmark, St George’s Hospital, could be almost over

15:00 01 November 2012

St George

St George's Hospital, Hornchurch

Archant

An important historical landmark which is held in great affection,” was how one former NHS chief described it, but a Legionella scare may well have finally ended the debate surrounding St George’s Hospital.

A selection of events from the history of St George's Hospital, HornchurchA selection of events from the history of St George's Hospital, Hornchurch

The Hornchurch facility was opened in 1938 as an old people’s home, called Suttons Institution, but soon played a key role in the Battle of Britain – housing RAF airmen during the Second World War.

In 1948 the Sutton’s Lane building was renamed St George’s and turned into a hospital.

The future of the site has been a live issue since at least 2005, when a consultation was launched on whether to refurbish, redevelop or close the hospital.

The number of patients being admitted fell that year and bosses considered closing one of the hospital’s four wards.

A campaign, led by the then Hornchurch MP James Brokenshire, was organised to halt the closure of St George’s. The consultation was put on hold while the government altered health policy.

In 2007, the then head of nursing at the hospital, Lynne Swiatczak, said that the facilities were “not suitable for the care of adults” – and Havering Primary Care Trust clarified that only a rebuild would ensure that the facilities would remain up to the standard that patients expect.

But the Recorder recently learnt that only two full building inspections have been carried out at the site in the last 10 years – in 2001 and 2008.

In 2009, health chiefs paid about £100,000 for plans for a new high-tech building on the same site and another consultation was launched.

Chas Hollwey, then chief executive of NHS Havering, said: “The old hospital is an important historical landmark which is held in great affection,” while adding that the building could not remain in its current state.

The £100,000 plans were not acted on and NHS Havering was subsequently abolished and the consultation shelved.

Inpatients from St George’s two wards were due to be moved out of the hospital in mid-November, with outpatient services remaining.

However, the discovery of Legionella bacteria has now left the hospital lying empty – at least for now.

The future of the site has still not been officially settled.

Health bosses say they have not decided whether outpatients will be moved back into the facility, and will launch a consultation on the future of the site.

But others believe that St George’s fate has all but been decided.

A leaflet put out by Hacton Conservative Party recently said the hospital would be closed and the bulk of its site sold off for housing – with some sort of new health centre also being built on Suttons Lane.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

14:35
Police want to speak to this man after a couple were tricked into giving £24,000 to fraudsters. Picture: Essex Police

Pensioners conned out of thousands purchased a Rolex watch as part of an elaborate scam.

16:10
Harold Wood Cricket Club in Mallorca

Tom Clarke from the Harold Wood Cricket Club writes about their recent trip to Mallorca.

Brownies and their leaders outside London World Centre

Although winter is approaching it doesn’t stop our girls from getting out and about!

David Dimbleby will be joined by five guests

Comedian Jo Brand, former education secretary Michael Gove and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna will be among Question Time panellists when the show comes to Harold Hill tomorrow.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition

The NHS have introduced a new pill for those who struggle to screw the lid back on that bottle of wine.

Today the doctor has received an eight-year sentence for a string of offences.

£300 a day sounds like a pretty good allowance – but this guy was claiming it without doing ANY work.