Friday, December 30, 2011

KGH and Queens Press Stories

Thanks to Bob Archer for drawing my attention to the deteriorating financial position at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust which includes Queens and King Georges. I quote:
“Two of the trusts forecasting deficit at the end of June increased their forecast losses. Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust was forecasting a £50m deficit at the end of September, £10m worse than its previous forecast...” full article at
The Recorder carries a story this week about Anu Patel I quote: “It was so hard because I knew exactly what was happening to me this time,” she said. “I knew if I got medical attention in time then it might have prevented it [the miscarriage].” Mrs Patel added: “I was appalled with how they treated me. Having to stand there with my waters broken was just demeaning.” She added the intention to close the A&E and labour ward at King George is “disgusting”. Full article at
The Telegraph carried a piece yesterday about patients being readmitted because they had been discharged too early. The claim is made of a 75% increase in the past decade of people leaving hospital and then returning as an emergency within 28 days. This is important for the save King George Hospital campaign as the closure plan is based upon big reduction on length of stay at both Queens and King George Hospital. Redbridge Health Scrutiny committee needs to keep on the ball on this issue and make sure any decrease in patient stay do not jeopardise safety. Full article at
Time Fm briefly mentions my recent interview on C sections here:

At the year end BHRUT does not appear anywhere near being able to safely close King George Hospital A&E and maternity units. I doubt it will be at the end of the next year. The encouraging thing is that there are lots of people who want to keep the campaign going and remain convinced that the IRP and Andrew Lansley made the wrong decision. The New Year is likely to provide evidence that Redbridge needs more medical resources, not less as outlined in the closure plan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Redbridge women are to go Royal London for C sections

Discovered earlier today that planned C sections are to go to Royal London over the holiday period and then return to the Homerton.

No news as to exactly why neither Queens or King George Hospital can't do planned C sections.

Also suggests NE London maternity services may be struggling to cope with demand as both Whipps and Newham hospitals which are closer to Redbrdige/Havering are not taking the place of the Homerton.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Queens Ambulance Delays

BHRUT have recently put up a press release on their site saying that Queens ambulance delays amongst the worst in the London: I quote

"Ambulance Trusts across the country have reported delays in handing over patients to Emergency departments.
With such great demand on hospitals there can be problems with transferring patients at peak times.
Queen’s Hospital has been highlighted as being one of the worst performing in London"

I am puzzled as to how closing King George A&E will improve things.

Full release at

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Link to Recorder Web story on C sections

Well done to the Recorder for doing some digging about the C section saga.

Their news is here

Delegation of MPs and cllrs to meet Alwen?

Time FM phoned me for an interview on C sections. I said some along the lines of if the situation does not improve by Monday, I would be minded to consult with MPs and Cllrs to see if there was support to request a meeting with Alwen Williams, the Chief Executive of ONEL to discuss the situation.

It is unacceptable that women don't know if they will be going to the Royal London, King Georges or the Homerton and it needs to be sorted out quickly.

And why after a two month break, can't Queens cope with planned C sections?

Safety is paramount, but it is reasonable have a time target for when things will improve by.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Women to go to Barts/Royal London? and Press Links

Well done to Geoff and Helen for getting a story here

The BBC have a piece here

Alwen Williams ONEL chief Exec issued the following earlier which talks about women going to the Royal London/Barts. The first time I have seen this mentioned. It also seems KGH opening a ward is not yet a done deal.


You may have seen some media coverage today about maternity services at Barking Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust, in particular regarding the arrangements for planned caesarian sections. We have been approached by various journalists asking what was happening, and have issued the following statement:

“Our top priority is the safety of local women and babies,” says Alwen Williams, Chief Executive of the two PCT clusters in north east London. “NHS ONEL, BHRUT and NHS London worked closely together on a maternity plan to address immediate issues with maternity services at King George and Queen’s hospitals which was put in place at the end of September.

“That plan was developed to ease pressure on BHRUT and to provide headroom to address a number of the most urgent concerns. We also needed to be sure that services never became so busy as to be unsafe.

“Since September, BHRUT has been working with key stakeholders on their longer term improvement plan, including timelines, which may include increasing activity at King George Hospital in the future for a limited period.

“Until that improvement plan is agreed with all stakeholders, including the CQC, the recent changes to maternity services will remain in place. This includes planned caesarean sections being carried out by another organisation (either the Homerton Hospital Foundation NHS Trust or Barts and the London NHS Trust).”

I hope this clarifies the situation and enables you to reassure any patients and members of the public who may be concerned.

Please come back to me if you have any queries.ENDS

KGH to do planned C Sections?

I am baffled to what is going on, we were told yesterday by Dr Moore, a senior NHS manager that C sections were to stay at the Homerton. Today, the NHS put the below up on the BHRUT site. It is a welcome change of direction and I hope they get the go ahead to re-open the ward at KGH.
Maternity services and caesarean section deliveries
Maternity services and caesarean section deliveries
14th December2011
BHRUT has facilities to deliver babies by caesarean section (C section) operations at both Queen’s and King George Hospitals.

For an eight week period ending in mid-December, we agreed with our commissioners that the Homerton Hospital in Hackney would offer care for some of our mothers-to-be who needed non-urgent C sections that would usually be provided at Queen’s.

Over this time, we have worked to improve quality, ensure all our newly recruited midwives are fully inducted, and also to plan how best to use our hospitals’ capacity, including fully utilising King George Hospital.

The Trust is working to improve our care further, but we have made significant progress, for example, in improving the level of one-to-one care for women in labour, reducing the waiting time for women to be assessed, and making sure women get access to pain relief quickly.

We are now planning to open up capacity for local women, subject to commissioner approval, in King George Hospital. We have two dedicated obstetric operating theatres there and are ready to reopen the post-natal ward, Japonica, to give care to women who have had non-urgent low-risk caesarean sections.

We are planning a new midwife-led unit at Queen’s, and will start work on this when we have funding approval from our commissioners. This will improve capacity at Queen’s and enable women to have choice over whether they want to give birth in a more homely environment. This new capacity will also help with implementation of the Secretary of State’s decision about the future of maternity provision at King George Hospital. However, there will be no reduction of maternity services at King George until the quality and capacity improvements can be sustained at Queen’s Hospital.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

C sections to stay at Homerton

At a meeting earlier this evening in Ilford Town Hall, Dr Moore, a senior NHS Manager said the NHS did not know when planned c sections would be coming back to Queens and KGH from the Homerton. A formal press release is to be issued shortly. The news is puzzling to me, other hospitals perform planned c sections, why can't Queens and KGH? I look forward to the press release.

Other issues at the meeting included the welcome news that the NHS will be posting up news of temporary A&E closures on a NHS website and that figures on hospital length of stay reductions and any subsequent readmissions will be provided to cllrs.

A request for officers to see if Andrew Lansley's decision to close KGH A&E and maternity could be challenged in court was refused.

Letter to Recorder on C sections

We spoke at a Save King George Hospital (KGH) meeting on Sunday 11th December. The outcome was that the campaign will continue and that it would be helpful if NHS management were to post onto their website key information about how their plans to improve KGH and Queens were developing.
It was of concern that the 12th December deadline for returning planned caesarean sections back to KGH and Queens from the Homerton has been missed.
It might be helpful to readers if Alwen Williams, the local senior NHS manager could write to the Recorder next week explaining the situation.

Yours sincerely

Andy Walker
Bob Archer

Friday, December 9, 2011

C section deadline missed

I and others wrote to Alwen Williams to enquire if the 12th December deadline for c sections to be returned from Homerton to Queens and KGH was to be kept to. The response is below, although the question about the deadline is not directly answered it seems that it will not be met and no new date for their return has been given. It is welcome that an update is to be provided next week by Alwen.

“Dear Councillor Walker and colleagues

Thank you for your email. I understand that these issues are of concern to local councillors and residents.

As you know, I have this week taken on the role of chief executive for outer north east London (ONEL). However I have over the past few weeks been involved in a number of meetings with colleagues from NHS London, BHRUT and NHS ONEL.

I was also fully aware of the plan to address immediate issues with maternity services in my role as chief executive for the inner north east London cluster.

The plan was developed to ease pressure on BHRUT and to provide headroom to address a number of the most urgent concerns. We also needed to be sure that services never became so busy as to be unsafe. We agreed that we would need to review the plan throughout and we are in the final stages of that now.

Once we have concluded this process I will be in touch next week to provide you and other stakeholders with an update.

Please be assured however that our primary concern is to ensure that we have safe services for women in ONEL and any actions taken will be about ensuring that happens.

Best wishes

Alwen Williams, Chief Executive

NHS Outer North East London – a partnership of local primary care trusts

Becketts House, 2-14 Ilford Hill, Ilford IG1 2QX

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Poster for 11th KGH Meeting

If you want to help with leafleting to plug the meeting please phone me on 07956 263088.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Bob Archer on Royal London Resignations

WHEN it was announced in 2009 that Accident and Emergency and Maternity services at King George Hospital, Ilford, were to be axed, local people were assured that this would be an improvement.

The reason given was that while Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) was “currently facing the biggest challenges in recruiting and retaining staff and providing experienced cover on two sites” (i.e. King George and Queen’s hospital, Romford), there were: “Two …major acute hospitals providing a ‘truly 24/7 service’ – and additional specialist services … Romford’s Queen’s Hospital and the Royal London, Whitechapel”. (Ilford Recorder 15 Oct 2009).

All the propaganda insisted that although accident and heart and stroke victims would face longer ambulance journeys, by concentrating highly skilled staff at centres of excellence (such as the Royal London), the patients would receive better treatment in the end. After all, the surgeons would be dealing with serious and highly complex cases all the time, so they would always be on top of their job.

This was also touted as the best way of improving the performance of the trust (described as “the worst performing in the country” by the Care Quality Commission on 14 October 2009) and of tackling a £100 million rolling deficit.

It has not taken long for the wheels to fall off this cunning plan. The recent report by the care Quality Commission into maternity services at Queen’s Hospital Romford explains why expectant mothers needing caesarian sections have to go all the way to Homerton Hospital in Hackney for the procedure.

Now it turns out that six senior senior consultants at the Barts and London NHS Trust have resigned recently over the effect of “poor management and government cuts” (Guardian, 2 December 2011).

One of them, David Goodier, complained angrily to hospital managers a year ago. This September he sent an email resigning from his job and stating that the situation there is causing patients to suffer from infections, pain and starvation, and that patients with broken bones are actually being harmed “as managers strove to hit waiting list targets and cut budgets”.

He goes on: “We are regularly out of kit, out of nurses, out of ODPs [operating department planners] and always out of beds. We have become so used to the situation, it is no longer seen as a crisis, it is the norm … I have been complicit in a poor standard of trauma care and am guilty of negligence by association.”

The President of the Royal Society of Surgeons, Professor Normal Williams, also works part time at the hospital. The Guardian reports that “He warned that a failure to investigate could result in allegations of a cover-up similar to ‘Mid-Staffs’.”

The Royal London Hospital has had a £1 billion expansion financed by a Private Funding Initiative (PFI) scheme which has effectively mortgaged it for years ahead. Large parts of the new building lie empty, while austerity measures reducing staffing and equipment below safety levels.

So the promise of “centres of excellence” turn to dust and ashes in front of our eyes. That’s not to criticise the staff at every level at the Royal London who soldier on through every difficulty of understaffing and lack of beds and basic equipment.

Nor is to condemn the doctors who refuse to be part of a fraud any longer. These are the real “clinicians” involved and their judgement is damning. They deserve our wholehearted support.

We should redouble our efforts to save A&E and Maternity services at King George and to make sure that all our hospitals are adequately resourced.

If you would to put up a guest blog contact Andy at