I regret to report that the BHRUT press department phoned me yesterday evening to say they would neither confirm or deny whether the document here:
which appears to be an invitation to private companies to draw up a plan to close King George Hospital A&E department is genuine.
Nor would BHRUT say if the contract was awarded to a private company last month as indicated by the document. Instead I was referred to their Freedom of Information Department. How can Councillors effectively perform their statutory duty to monitor what is happening in our hospitals if they and the public cannot be told if important documents are genuine?
My belief is that this document is real and it is a breach of Andrew Lansley's, then Secretary of State for Health, promise on 27 October 2011 to the residents of NE London which follows:
"However, no changes will take place until the Care Quality Commission, which published its own report on local services today, has assured the Secretary of State that the services provided by Queen’s Hospital and other local health services are of a high standard." End quote
A screen shot containing the guarantee is below. I will be writing to Councillors in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge informing them of the news in the hope that some will attend the photoshoot, if not the whole meeting.
There appears to be someone in local NHS management who has broken their contract terms and leaked the document above. While, I am very grateful to whoever did this as it means we know more about what is being planned for our hospitals. I do not encourage any NHS employee to leak documents as they could lose their jobs if caught.