I have campaigned to defend local NHS services at King George Hospital since 2006. In October 2011 Andrew Lansley, the then Conservative Health Secretary announced closure of both A&E and maternity in "around two years".
The maternity wards were closed in 2013. But closure of A&E has not happened because it would not be safe to do so. The North East London Sustainability and Transformation (STP) plan reveals a deficit of £578m by 2021. Even with ambitious ‘business as usual’ savings there is a funding gap of £336m.
As I told Heath Secretary Jeremy Hunt in January "There is no capital provision for the closure of the King George hospital A&E and its re-provisioning at Queen’s hospital... There is going to be a massive crisis in my area unless urgent steps are taken to provide more resources."
I recently met with Health Ministers David Mowat and Philip Dunne, and separately with all the local NHS organisations involved with the STP. The management and staff at Barking Havering and Redbridge Trust have done really well to get out of special measures. It is now time for the Government to help them make further improvements by lifting the absurd damaging and unrealisable threat of closure.
Following the impressive march and rally last weekend, and my recent meetings I am more confident than ever that we can save our Accident and Emergency at King George.