Case of deja vu over A&E closure plans

Chris Carter TWO YEARS ago I commented on this page that a public meeting in which health chiefs were called on to justify the closure of A&E threw up more questions than answers. Last week s meeting to discuss the latest threat to King George Hospital s services was

Chris Carter

TWO YEARS ago I commented on this page that a public meeting in which health chiefs were called on to justify the closure of A&E threw up more questions than answers.

Last week's meeting to discuss the latest threat to King George Hospital's services was a case of deja vu.

The 2007 Fit For The Future plans were flawed because they failed to consult with doctors and the community services were not in place.


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This time round we are told clinicians are in support of the plans and the introduction of polyclinics will improve access to health care in the community.

There appeared to be a unanimous feeling last week that people are yet to be convinced.

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In a sometimes emotional speech Cllr Loraine Sladden revealed she had polled all the GPs in the borough and told the meeting 94 per cent who replied were against closing the A&E.

Cllr Sladden also questioned how "tried and tested" the polyclinic system was. Evidence appears to be that Loxford polyclinic is not a walk-in centre and some who have attended have been turned away.

And many wonder if polyclinics are the answer and when they will all be built.

A&E nurse Lesley Richards produced the trump card for opponents of the plans by challenging health chiefs' claims that all heart patients are sent to the London Chest Hospital, Bethnal Green.

It appears, although it is claimed the London Ambulance Service has been consulted, the paramedics on the ground haven't been asked - and the feeling is if they were they might tell a different story.

Most who attended the meeting would welcome plans to improve their health services in Redbridge - they remain wholly unconvinced closing A&E is the way to do that.

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