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Cutting hospital beds will leave 'great big hole' warns MP

PUBLISHED: 17:20 18 September 2014

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Plans to cut hospital beds at rehabilitation units across Havering, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham came under fire last night as health bosses met with campaigners.

Representatives of the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were treated to a grilling from residents for nearly two hours over the proposals.

The groups, which commission hospital services, were accused of taking “unnecessary risks” with their proposal to cut the number of intermediate care beds across the three boroughs.

Redbridge CCG chairman Dr Anil Mehta, who works as a GP in Barkingside, said the plans were “not simply about reducing beds and cutting costs”.

“The quality of care we provide at the moment is not good enough,” he said.

He said the CCG wanted to “beef up” community care in the three boroughs.

The CCGs in Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham and Havering want to close intermediate care units at Wanstead Hospital and Gray’s Court in Dagenham and centralise the service at King George Hospital in Ilford.

The service – which provides 24-hour care and rehabilitation for people after operations or illness – would see its hospital beds reduced from 104 to 40, with the option to expand to 61 when needed.

The CCGs have also introduced two community care teams, visiting patients in their own homes, which are already being trialled.

The meeting at The George pub in Wanstead was organised by Wanstead and Snaresbrook Residents’ Alliance (WASRA), which has been campaigning to stop the 48-bed Heronwood and Galleon units being closed at Wanstead Hospital.

Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer said the consultation Making Intermediate Care Better was “deeply flawed” and criticised the group for refusing to extend it until the end of October.

Mr Cryer said the three boroughs would be left with a “great big hole” and a lack of intermediate care beds.

“Making such radical changes to north east London health care with such an untried system is taking unnecessary risks with our future,” he added.

Asked what would happen to intermediate care patients outside of working hours, RCCG chief operating officer Louise Mitchell told the meeting patients could call NHS 111 and A&E.

And Caroline O’Donnell, Havering and BHR integrated care director of Nelft, said patients would not be at home if there was a risk of them needing to go to hospital suddenly overnight.

The consultation ends on October 15. Visit haveringccg.nhs.uk to share your views.

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