Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Model Response to IRP based on MPs letter of 7th April

It would be great to get as many responses into the IRP as possible. Whilst individual ones are better than a model response, I know many people will be too busy to write a detailed letter. If you want to use a model: I suggest something along the lines of:

Dear Sir or Madam

I do not want King George Hospital A&E and maternity units closed for the reasons set out in the letter handed in by 8 MPs who visited 10 Downing St on 7April 2011. The text of the letter is at 

please insert name and postal address the letter text is below. The IRP email is 

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

7 April 2011

Dear Prime Minister

We are writing to express our deepest concerns about proposals to close the A&E and maternity units at King George Hospital in Goodmayes, which both serve people in our constituencies and impact on other health facilities on which our constituents depend.

This move at this time will do real harm to local health services.  It will place unbearable pressure on the other Trust hospital, Queens in Romford, as well as nearby hospitals such as Whipps Cross in Leytonstone. Alternative community based facilities are simply not in place and are not of a good enough quality to act as substitutes to the services at King George.

This is a hospital Trust in trouble. It bears an ongoing historic debt, it is struggling to service the cost of a recent PFI and it has just been subject to a report in the public interest issued by the Audit Commission. The Regional health officials’ only response to these problems is to close services, simply worsening the healthcare offered to people in this part of North East London.

Queens Hospital is already struggling to cope with existing demand. Over Christmas the A&E was closed to all but the most urgent cases, ambulances were queuing round the block and local GPs were called in to help manage the patient load.

In May last year 99% of patients at King George A&E and 92% at Queens were treated within four hours. By the first week of January this year, that had dropped to 83% at King George and just over 61% at Queens.

Maternity services at both Queens and Whipps Cross are currently under investigation by the Care Quality Commission. Inspectors found that understaffing at Queens is putting mothers and babies at risk, and that maternity staff at Whipps Cross are struggling with unsustainable caseloads. We all have individual cases of poor quality care, leading in the worst instance to an unnecessary death of a mother and baby.

The area covered by the Trust has one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. 10,000 babies were born in Barking, Havering and Redbridge last year.

Births are growing at 500 more each year, as a result of both new housing developments on the Thames Gateway and a changing population in East London.

Local GPs strongly oppose the move and tens of thousands of our constituents across the whole of North East London have signed a petition against it.

The Secretary of State for Health has now referred the proposals to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and will make a final decision in July. We welcome that, but would ask that you intervene to halt a closure which is driven by a desire by bureaucrats to cut costs at the expense of care in an area with huge health inequalities and already overstretched services.

Yours sincerely

Jon Cruddas MP       John Cryer MP         The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP

Mike Gapes MP         The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP   Andrew Rosindell MP

Lee Scott MP             Angela Watkinson MP

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