Today with Margaret Hodge MP and Lee Scott MP I took London Health Minister Mike O'Brien to see King George Hospital. we toured the hospital for an hour seeing the Accident and Emergency, childrens and Maternity wards and talking with staff and patients.
Then at the end of our meeting Mike O'Brien announced that because of the strong local opposition to the closure plans he had decided to agree to the request of the MPs and Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham Councils and was referring the matter to an Independent Reconfiguration Panel to look at the issue again over the next few months.
This is a great victory for our united Campaign . We have not yet won the war but we have won a major battle. Congratulations to all who supported the campaign, signed the petitions and marched with us. Well done.
The Consultation on the plans to “reconfigure” hospital services in Outer and Inner North East London had closed on Monday. My office has sent in thousands of petition signatures objecting to the proposals. The strength of our campaign to SaveKingGeorgeHospital has been its non partisan nature. In 2008 we defeated the misnamed “Fit for the Future” plans. Last November I initiated the Parliamentary debate opposing the new attack on our hospital. In January I put down a Parliamentary Early Day Motion. I then worked closely with the leadership of Redbridge Council to get a unanimous joint view. In February we had our united demonstration and since then several broad based non sectarian meetings have been held. Although there have been attempts at sectarian point scoring on some websites and in Lib Dem leaflets circulating in Valentines ward overall our unity has held. Two weeks ago during a debate on Healthcare in London I could not vote for either the Tory motion or the Labour amendment because neither explicitly mentioned the accident and emergency and maternity services at KingGeorgeHospital or called for an independent review of the proposals. In the debate I pressed Health Minister Ann Keen “ She knows that I tabled an amendment, which was not selected, asking the Secretary of State to refer to independent review the proposal for reconfiguration in outer north-east London. Will she arrange an urgent meeting between me and her ministerial colleagues to discuss that proposal, which is supported by my local authority, the London borough of Redbridge and by the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Scott) “ The Minister promised to do so and as a result on Tuesday afternoon my Conservative neighbour Lee Scott, Margaret Hodge Labour MP for Barking and I met London Health Minister Mike O’Brien to press for an independent review of the proposals to be established.
The Ministerial visit today was the result.