More A&E patients expected at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, after first steps to close King George’s emergency unit

Queen's Hospital

Queen's Hospital - Credit: Archant

The emergency department at Queen’s Hospital could get busier after 8pm as leaked documents reveal plans to shut down a nearby A&E unit.

Documents leaked today from the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) show plans to “definitely” close the A&E department at King George Hospital, Goodmayes, are being considered and night closure would be the first step.

Under the new arrangements, patients will be referred to Queen’s Hospital, Rom valley, Romford, after 8pm.

Leaked minutes from a BHRUT general surgery business meeting in November last year state the change could happen in “one go”.

They state: “AJO [Arikoge Ogedegbe, clinical governance lead] confirmed that the A&E department at KGH will definitely be closed. There will be a meeting on December 4 to establish how this will be managed.

“The proposal is that it will close at 8pm and all emergencies will be sent straight to QH [Queen’s Hospital, Romford].”

There are concerns Queen’s Hospital does not have the facilities and resources to support the move and statistics released last week showed that A&E waiting times in February for BHRUT were at their worst level since December 2014.

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BHRUT chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: “We have been very clear that the decision to make changes to A&E services locally has already been made and endorsed by the Secretary of State for Health. Before we can make any of those planned changes we have to show that it’s safe to do so.

“We are now looking at how we do that and how we can implement the decision.

“As we have said previously, we have been talking to the regulators and other partners to test whether we could make changes to emergency and urgent care at King George Hospital in a phased way. That could include closing the emergency department at King George overnight initially.

“This involves a series of reviews, carried out by an independent team, which includes senior doctors. The purpose of this is to assure commissioners, providers and other stakeholders both here and outside our immediate area that we are ready and service change can be made safely. This process has not taken place yet.

“When, and if, all those reviews are passed, our board and our CCGs’ governing body meetings – both held in public - would then have to make a final decision to implement the changes.”

In February, the BHRUT dismissed allegations made by Ilford North MP Wes Streeting King George Hospital’s A&E department would start closing at night.