‘St George’s Hospital, Hornchurch, not in as bad disrepair as has been stated’ - claim

Confusion reigns over claims that the boiler at St George’s Hospital is not in as bad a state of disrepair as has been said in the past.

Several members of staff at the hospital contacted the Recorder stating that at a meeting last week an estates manager at the Sutton Lane site told them – and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NEFLT) bosses - that the hospital’s boiler is in good working condition and has recently been insured.

This contrasts with the previous statement from bosses at NHS North East London and the City (NELC) that due to a faulty heating system action needed to be taken before the winter.

This claim was expanded further in a recent leaflet supporting the redevelopment of the site by the Haction ward Conservative Party – which stated that the boiler needed “an emergency staff of eight engineers” to keep it operating within health and safety guidelines.

Cllr Steven Kelly, Havering Council’s cabinet member for individuals, said that the information came from local health bosses.

But a NELC spokesman said that he could not say what the condition of the boiler actually is - because a decision on the hospital’s bed unit is due this week.

Requests from the Recorder to speak to any of the executives involved in the decision making have also not yet been accepted.

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In a written statement, a spokesman for NELC said: “This isn’t all about a boiler. It’s about a range of security and safety concerns for staff working in the 24/7 bed-based services.

“The issues at St George’s are a combination of poor estate, unused and isolated areas, as well as problems with the heating system.”

He added: “There has been a reduction of services on the site over the last year and on several occasions unauthorised people have been found on the site.”

Cllr Jeff Tucker (Independent Residents’ Group, Rainham and Wennington) said: “You won’t believe the amount of people I’ve had come and see me about this issue, I’m being urged to campaign about this all the time, and we need answers – if the boiler isn’t the real reason it’s closing fair enough, but why not say so?”

The decision on the hospital’s bed unit is due to be made this week by the new clinical commissioning group – health professionals who are taking over the decision-making process of the health trust under government reorganisation of the NHS.

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