Andrew Lansley urges clear ‘vision’ for King George Hospital before A&E closes

A “vision” for the future of King George Hospital must be mapped out before its A&E and labour ward can close, Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley has said today.

He was speaking after touring the maternity and A&E unit at Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

Queen’s will have to deal with an increase in patients when services at King George, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes close.

But that will not happen until the hospitals trust has satisfied the Care Quality Commission (CQC) it has passed more than 70 key tests.

Mr Lansley, who in October gave the green light to the closure of services at King George, said: “There must be a vision from the trust for the future of King George Hospital and what services will be available there.”

He added: “We have been absolutely clear that as we support the trust, they take ownership of ensuring high quality care.

“There’s been considerable progress, in particular in recruitment of midwives, and from our point of view getting doctors and nurses who will provide leadership is essential.

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“The job of the CQC is to intervene where there’s a failure to meet the standards patients should receive. That’s why we’ve stepped in. To give them [Queen’s] the space to improve the staff levels and [for staff to] get the experience and qualifications.”