Havering councillors not opposed to merger of Queen’s Hospital and King George Hospital

Havering councillors no longer oppose the mergers of accident and emergency units of Queen’s and King George hospitals.

A motion put forward by the council’s Labour group to call on the health service to reconsider the plan was defeated.

But an amendment by the ruling Conservative group – stating that the council believes the merger should “only be done when it is clinically safe to do” was passed instead.

Cllr Paul McGeary (Labour, Heaton) said that the Havering Council’s Conservatives should follow the lead of former party leader Iain Duncan Smith who has described the proposals as ridiculous.

He said: “We ask you to take into account the issues with delays to provision of improvements to A&E and community services and the inability of BHRUT to meet over ambitious bed reduction targets.”

But Cllr Steven Kelly (Conservative, Emerson Park) said that it is logical to have one A&E site to maximise available resources.

He said: “The clinicians are okay with this agreement and we’re not clinicians. That’s one of the failings I think of politicians is that they think they have the ability to comment on clinical matters – we don’t.

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“It’s difficult because it’s emotive but it’s not always logical to fight closure.”

He added that a reduction in people going to A&E for minor matters would help the infrastructure cope.

Cllr Keith Darvill (Labour, Heaton) said that while he agreed changes were needed to reduce unnecessary A&E visits, the current plans are “putting the cart before the horses”.

Chairman of the health overview and scrutiny committee Cllr Pam Light (Conservative, Harold Wood) said: “These changes are lead by clinicians not office staff, there are other A&Es which are expanding, namely Whipps Cross.”

The motion to call on the health service to reconsider the plan was defeated by 29 votes (Conservative group) to 19 (Residents’ Association, Labour and Independent Residents’ Group).

The Conservative amendment backing change when clinically safe to do so was agreed.

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