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St George’s Hospital, Hornchurch, is ‘unfit to open during winter’ and needs quick decision on its future

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 August 2012 | UPDATED: 16:13 31 August 2012

St George's Hospital

St George's Hospital

Archant

With just weeks until winter, a Hornchurch hospital has been found to be unfit to stay open during a cold spell and urgent plans for its future are being made.

A spokesman for NHS North East London and the City (NELC) said this week that problems have been identified with St George’s Hospital during a recent review.

She said: “Our intention is still to redevelop the St George’s Hospital site, including creating a new purpose-built health centre for the benefit of local people.

“But right now, our first priority is the welfare of current patients.

“The care patients receive from staff is not in question, but the facilities are not at the standard that we, or patients, would expect.

“A recent review of the buildings has identified problems with the heating system and we are concerned that it may not cope with another harsh winter.”

She added that a quick solution was needed but a decision had not yet been made on what to do.

The hospital offers respiratory, physiotherapy, heart and stroke services and inpatient rehabilitation among other services.

But a member of staff – who has worked at the hospital since the early 1990s – told the Recorder that her colleagues believe management have already made their mind up.

She said: “Everyone says it’s closing in November, but where are the patients going to go?

“In a nursing home or in their own home they don’t receive the same level of care as they do here.

“I just think it’s such a shame for the community and all the people who use the hospital – it’s just so much upheaval.”

Cllr Jeff Tucker (Independent Residents’ Group, Rainham and Wennington) said: “They do a marvellous job there, I’ve never heard a complaint about it. The borough needs the hospital to stay open.”

Restoration

In May the Recorder revealed that restoration plans for the hospital in 2010 had been shelved and repairs would cost £12million.

In that same year, NHS Havering’s chief executive Chas Hollwey, said: “Doing nothing (with the hospital) is not an option, and would almost certainly lead to its eventual closure.”

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