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.

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