I am remain positive about the future of the wards King George Hospital A&E and maternity wards, despite Andrew Lansley’s decision to accept the recommendation of the IRP to close them.
This is because Mike Gapes, Lee Scott and I hope the other six MPs involved in the campaign will continue to work together to expose the decision as flawed.
Mike, Lee and Ian Bond set out in the letter below which is in the in Recorder today the way forward for the campaign.
Providing we can achieve quarterly oversight of exactly what is happening at King Georges and Queens, I am confident that the 25% medical staffing reduction contained at page 123 of the Health for North East London decision making case will prove to be unsustainable and the NHS management dare not close the units because of the resulting chaos that would ensue.
A public meeting is planned for the near future and I will post the details of it soon.
I will suggest at the next meeting of the campaign committee that Andrew is invited to Ilford Town Hall to explain his decision and take questions. It is significant that Andrew has said standards at both Queens and KGH must rise to high before any closures can happen. The letter follows
We write to reassure readers that our campaign to save the A&E and Maternity wards at King George Hospital will continue. Our campaign has had some influence, the Urgent Care Unit proposals now have higher staffing levels on a 24 hour 365 day a year basis than the original plans and Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health has ordered that the closure plans will only go ahead when the standard of health care has improved. Our view is that maternity and A&E wards continuing at King George Hospital are vital to the plan to improve health care. There is much to do as the investigation of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) makes it clear that the local health service is amongst the worst in the UK.
So our campaign will now be broadened to include a better NHS deal for our residents. Our first thoughts to achieve this aim are to:
1) Ask Averil Dongworth, the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive to produce a monthly report detailing how she is working towards meeting the targets set in the CQC report. This report to be published on the Health for NE London website along with waiting list and medical staffing figures.
2) To seek an assurance that the two month deadline for caesarian sections to be brought back into the Trust to prevent women having to travel to Hackney is on track to be met.
3) Ask for A&E temporary closures to be published on the Health for NE London website within 48 hours. Never again should people rely on the bravery on an ambulance driver speaking out at a public meeting to find out Queens A&E had to close to ambulances because it could not cope.
4) To invite Averil to meet us on a quarterly basis for a discussion of her report
5) To seek support for a call for a research study into the mortality rates for people taken to Urgent Care Units who are then transferred to a proper A&E against those who go straight to an A&E. After a Radio Four show critical of Urgent Care Units it seems sensible that such research is carried out immediately. We expect such research to show that Urgent Care Units provide a second rate service and full A&E services should be maintained.
The key issue is how Averil expects to deliver a better Maternity and A&E service with the 25% less staff outlined in the closure plans when the A&E service at Queens was found to be approaching collapse by the CQC and large numbers of pregnant women are being diverted away from Queens/King Georges because existing staff cannot cope.
We want to hear from campaign supporters before writing to the Averil and so will be holding a public meeting so that others can propose ideas for how we can move our campaign forward. Should your faith group or resident association like to host the meeting please phone 07956 263088.
Ian Bond Leader of Redbridge Liberal Democrats
Mike Gapes MP
Lee Scott MP
Co-Chairs Save King George Hospital Campaign Committee