Havering Council set to appeal to Secretary of State over hospital closures

Havering Council cabinet is planning to formally object to NHS proposals to close the A&E department and maternity units at King George Hospital.

Councillors will write to Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley MP soon.

Councillor Steven Kelly, Cabinet Member for Individuals, said: “Queen’s Hospital is already under immense pressure dealing with the current demand - let alone if all the A&E traffic from Ilford comes here as well.

“The Secretary of State needs to take action against these plans before something serious happens either because ambulances have to be diverted to a hospital miles away or there are delays in doctors seeing patients.”

This follows a resolution by the Council to take action to protect services at Queen’s Hospital for the residents of Havering, who would be adversely affected by the loss of services at King George Hospital.

In the report to be considered by Cabinet, are the assurances demanded by GPs, Havering Council and other stakeholders which were agreed to by the joint committees of the Primary Care Trusts when they made their decision to close King George.

The NHS and said that it has listened to the concerns of the residents and other groups such as Havering Council and agreed that no services would be changed until a set of assurances have been met.

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These assurances are:

-The right facilities and work place were ready for the changes to take part over the next five years

-the quality and capacity of hospital services improves before any changes are made

-progress is made in reducing lengths of stay at the hospital

-more detailed workforce planning is undertaken

-GPs should lead the planning and implementation of the changes.

In addition, the report also notes that on several occasions this winter the level of alert at the hospital has reached purple (higher than red), this means that there were no spare beds at the hospital. On a small number of occasions this led to ambulances having to queue or be diverted to another hospital.

Addressing the closure of the maternity unit at King George the report refers to the recent findings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust (BHRT) which runs Queen’s Hospital was not taking all proper steps to ensure the safety of women in the maternity unit.