Final push to save King George’s A&E

PROTESTERS are gearing up to stage a huge protest against controversial proposals to close the A&E and maternity wards of a hospital.

Saturday will see residents, politicians and activists take to the streets to fight Health for North East London’s plans to close the wards at the King George Hospital, Goodmayes, and to send emergency cases to the Queen’s and other surrounding hospitals.

The final decision is due at the next health scrutiny panel meeting on January 31.

The protesters’ cause has been highlighted and supported by the husband of a woman who died after a five-hour wait in A&E at the Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

Andrew Martin, 41, of Lincoln Avenue, Rush Green, believes that his wife Laura, 39, could have survived if the ward had not been over-run. He said: “With the A&E at King George’s shutting down, it’s going to get worse.”

Rally organiser Wilson Chowdry said: “The recent events at the Queen’s show that both Queen’s and King George’s A&E departments are at full capacity and that there is a clear and definite need for those facilities.

“We really need people to come to the event from Barking and Dagenham, Romford, Waltham Forest and all the affected areas.”

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Alex Chowdry, lay priest at Barking Baptist Church, said: “If you are going to have A&E services further away, you are going to have longer queues and longer waiting times.

“I think it’s going to be detrimental to the health service.”

The rally will take place this Saturday from 11am at Little Heath Green in Ilford, with around a dozen speakers including London Assembly Member Darren Johnson, campaigners from Keep the NHS Public, Frank Wood from Unite, Upkar Rai from the British Sikh Council and Ilford MP Lee Scott. The march is expected to arrive in Ilford town centre at around 2pm.