Election could save King George A&E

THE plans to axe King George A&E could be derailed by the General Election, it has been revealed. Health bosses admitted the Goodmayes A&E consultation exercice could be delayed by forthcoming elections as well as a political or legal challenge and could

THE plans to axe King George A&E could be derailed by the General Election, it has been revealed.

Health bosses admitted the Goodmayes A&E consultation exercice could be delayed by forthcoming elections as well as a political or legal challenge and could run beyond 2010.

The process could also be pushed back depending on how long data analyst Ipsos Mori needs to dissect potentially huge amounts of information trickling from eight boroughs.

Barking MP Margaret Hodge has gathered some 5,000 signatures against the closure and will collect more at Barking Station on January 29 ahead of a torchlight vigil spearheaded by lead campaigner Ilford South MP Mike Gapes planned for February 25.

The culture minister said: "I am furious that plans are again being discussed which could see the loss of our hospital A&E."

Health for North East London, the health authorities behind the planned closure, could not give a timescale for the outcome of its consultation ending on March 8, but urged the public to join the debate, saying it would be their sole opportunity to air their views.

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A spokeswoman said: "There is no definitive timeline because it depends on independent verification of the responses, any election, any political or legal challenges.

"The public do not get another opportunity to comment on the consultation."

Patients face having to use Queen's A&E in Romford if King George emergency department is axed.

The second nearest A&E, at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, is twice as far as King George and is also under threat.

But Health for North East London is putting on a consultation roadshow featuring a film seeking to show just how fast ambulances can travel through congested and stationary traffic.

The roadshow comes to the Vicarage Field mall in Ripple Mall, Barking, on January 25, and Asda, Merrielands Crescent, Dagenham, on February 6.

To take part in the consultation go to healtfornel.nhs.uk or call 0808 238 5416.

ENDS.

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