Drop The Bill

Mike Gapes MP wrote to the Ilford Recorder last week regarding the decision by the Secretary of State to proceed with the closure of A&E and labour services at King George. This despite the damning indictment by the Care Quality Commission of these same services at Queen’s Hospital. Mike also urges people to sign the petition against the Health & Social Care Bill.

The Coroners Inquest confirmed that neglect by Queens Hospital contributed to the tragic death of Sareena Ali (Recorder 17 Nov). Yet Conservative Health Secretary Andrew Lansley “fully supports” closure of maternity and Accident and Emergency at King George Hospital . Health Minister Simon Burns told me in my Nov 8th Parliamentary debate that these services would go in about two years.

Nationally Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are going ahead with their reckless Health and Social Care Bill. We have already seen waiting-times increase since David Cameron came to power. His plans encourage local hospitals to treat more private patients while NHS patients are left waiting longer. They create a postcode lottery in the NHS, where patients are refused treatments in one area that their friends can get in another. The unwanted reorganisation wastes £3billion which would be better spent on medicines, equipment and staff.

David Cameron has no democratic mandate for this Health Bill. It wasn't in his manifesto. It wasn't in Nick Clegg's either. The public never voted for it and healthcare professionals are fearing it.

I have worked very hard with others on a cross party basis for six years to Save King George Hospital. But following Labour's justified condemnation of the Lansley decision in a leaflet distributed during the Aldborough by-election, Conservative Redbridge Council Leader Keith Prince told the Recorder on November 3rd that cross party campaigning was now over. Tories boycotted a campaign committee meeting on November 4th. Although there is no basis for a continuing cross party campaign I will continue to fight with local people of good will to defend King George Hospital and our NHS which is not safe in the hands of Lansley, Cameron and Clegg.

Aneurin Bevan, creator of the NHS, said there would be an NHS only for as long as there were people left to fight for it. That fight is now upon us.

Please add your name to the petition at www.dropthebill.com.

Secretary of State Approves Closure Of Services At King George Hospital

Last week the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published the report on its investigation into deep seated issues around the quality of care provided by the Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospital Trust. On the same day, the Secretary of State for Health announced his decision to approve plans to close Accident & Emergency and Labour services at King George Hospital, based on the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

The CQC stated:

"Long-standing concerns in maternity services have progressively worsened. The most significant problems were identified at Queen's Hospital…"

"Accident and emergency services at Queen's Hospital have struggled to meet the four-hour target for admission. A tipping point was reached last winter when the quality of services began to collapse. There have been some improvements in 2011 which the trust needs to consolidate to reduce the risk of poor care happening again."

"There are challenges for the trust in terms of capacity at Queen's Hospital. There has been a gradual transfer of services from King George Hospital to Queen's Hospital, but the efficiency gains that were supposed to occur at Queen's Hospital have not come about."

"The majority of maternity services are now provided at Queen's Hospital. Staff, stakeholders, patients, and evidence from external reviews all indicate that too many women now attend Queen's Hospital for their maternity care, and that the trust cannot cope with the level of activity."

"The trust has had difficulty in ensuring that patients are admitted from the emergency department in less than four hours, particularly at Queen's Hospital since it opened in 2006."

"The emergency department reached its tipping point last winter when the quality of service began to collapse."

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel noted that Health For North East London had consulted widely regarding its plans. It failed to acknowledge that it had completely ignored the overwhelming response from local people.

The CQC has made 73 recommendations for improvements at the trust and will be monitoring their implementation. The Labour Party in Ilford will continue to work with others, from all political parties & those with no affiliation, to ensure the trust is held to those recommendations. But it’s a disgrace that David Cameron & his Secretary of State have reneged on the promises they made before the last election to prevent the closure of local hospital services.

Save King George Hospital March and Rally 8 April 2011


Friday 8 April saw a day of action in the fight to save services at King George Hospital.  Around 50 intrepid individuals left Queens Hospital in Romford at 4pm and made their way with banners and placards to Ilford Town Hall via Crow Lane, Whalebone Lane and the High Road.  They arrived in Ilford town centre around 5.45pm, in time for the Rally being held in Ilford Town Hall. 

The town hall was packed with almost 600 people present to hear the speakers who included: MP’s Mike Gapes, Lee Scott, Margaret Hodge, John Cryer & Andrew Rosindell; Ian Bond, Liberal Democrat deputy leader of Redbridge Council; representatives of a number of the major faith groups; and chaired by Bob Archer from the National Union of Teachers.  The message from all the speakers was very clear – King George Hospital belongs to the community, and the views of the community must be taken into account by those making decisions about its’ future.DSC00338

The campaign has united all political parties and faiths, and those with no political or religious affiliations.  The audience was told about the review currently being undertaken by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which is to report back to the Secretary of State for Health by 22 July. 

To make sure your views are heard please contact them by:

Writing to: IRP, 6th floor, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SP

Email to: info@irpanel.org.uk

Phoning: 020 7389 8046

Chaotic Council Cabinet Decides Closure Of Downshall Centre “In Principle”

The campaign by Downshall Centre users forced a hurried change to the agenda at Tueday night’s cabinet meeting. Various caveats were added to the recommendation for a “Free School” to replace the Downshall Centre. But the decision was still taken “in principle” to sell the centre to E-Act, a national organisation wishing to set up a school in Ilford & voluntary groups were left no clearer about their future.

The caveats were included to ensure that the council discharges its legal obligations, particularly in respect of Equalities legislation. Cllr Keith Prince, Leader of the Conservative & Liberal Democrat coalition running Redbridge, issued an apology to voluntary organisations & users of the Downshall Centre for the way things had been handled by his colleague, Cllr Alan Weinberg, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services. (more…)

Speak Out – Let The Secretary Of State For Health Hear Your Voice

Chadwell’s Councillor Andy Walker interviewed Waseem Nawaz about the care his sister received at King George Hospital while ill with flu and posted the video on You Tube. He is encouraging others to post videos of family and friends as to why A&E and maternity should not be cut to make a video petition which can be drawn to Andrew Lansley’s attention before he makes his decision about whether to close services at our hospital.

The title of the video is “Speaking out against King George Cuts”” if anyone would like to make linked videos to go with it.

The campaign to save services at King George Hospital has the support of all the political parties in Redbridge.

Tuesday 4th January, 6:45pm – Save Our A&E


Only a decision by the Council to refer the whole matter to the Andrew Lansley the Health Secretary can save our services now. At the moment all parties locally agree that we must oppose the closure, but we need a big show of support outside the Town Hall before the meeting at 7.15 p.m.


The Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee debates the issue at 6 p.m. The public may attend, but capacity for speakers at this meeting will be limited as it must be over, with its recommendation made before the 7.15 p.m. Full Council Meeting. The M.P’s are already ‘billed’ to speak at this one and you may want to attend just to observe.

The Full Council Meeeting to consider the issue is at 7.15 p.m. This obviously is not so time constrained and there is thus more oportunity for members of the public to speak.

If you want to speak at or know more about attending either meeting contact Cllr Andy Walker.

PCTs Vote Unanimously To Close Accident & Emergency & Maternity Services at KGH

At a meeting in Stratford Town Hall last night the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts decided in favour of closing the Accident & Emergency service & the maternity unit at King George Hospital. This decision was taking in the face of public opposition demonstrated through their own “consultation”. It seems that nothing will stop them except the intervention of the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley.

United To Save King George Hospital Services

The leaders of all the political groups on Redbridge Council, a councillor from Havering, the Ilford South MP, Labour’s Mike Gapes, & the Chair of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Redbridge were all interviewed outside Queen’s Hospital in Romford as they campaign to maintain Accident & Emergency and Maternity services at King George Hospital. The contributors are:

Cllr Keith Prince, Leader, Redbridge Council
Cllr Paul McGeary, Havering Labour Group
Cllr Bob Littlewood, Leader, Redbridge Labour Group
Cllr Ian Bond, Deputy Leader, Redbridge Council
Mike Gapes MP, Ilford South
Cllr Chris Cummins, Chair Health Scrutiny Committee

Read the Recorder report on the protest & the campaign.

NE London Boroughs United In Opposition To Closure of A&E at King George Hospital

Earlier this month Havering council came out against the closure of A&E at King George Hospital. The photo shows Redbridge cllrs and Mike Gapes MP outside Queens Hospital alongside Havering cllrs.


If the cuts go through Queens A&E will be unable to provide good care to a population of around 700,000.  It’s good to see unity across boroughs in the campaign for our Hospital.  The Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee for the boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge & Waltham Forest have also expressed concern about the increased workload for Whipps Cross & Newham Hospitals which may be caused by changes at King George’s.

Things You Can Do Before March 8th To Save King George Hospital

Monday March 8th is the deadline for the public consultation on the health authorities proposals for North East London, including the closure of Accident & Emergency and other services at King George Hospital.

What can you do NOW?

1. Take part in the consultation, which runs until March 8 2010. Fill in the questionnaire on the Website www.healthfornel.nhs.uk.

2. Write in protest to Freepost RSAE RCET ATJY, Health for North East London, Harrow, HA1 2QG.

3. Call them with your views on 0808 238 5416 ( it is a free line).

4. Sign Mike Gapes M.P’s new petition on line at www.savekinggeorgehospital.org.uk or by requesting forms from his Constituency Office at 6 Mildmay Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1DT, Tel: 020 8911 0899. Forms need to be returned by Monday 8th March.

5. If you can manage it, we are encouraging everyone to ask for some forms and get their friends and neighbours to sign. Just remember we need them back by March 8th

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