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.