Thursday, 27 October 2011


I was horrified today when I heard today on the local news at 1.20 p.m. on BBC1 that Emergency and Maternity services at King George Hospital, Ilford are to be transferred to Queen’s Hospital, Romford. For several years this has been a proposal that has been opposed by pretty well everyone living in either Ilford or Romford, by all the MP’s, local Councillors and by most of the local doctors Some years ago, I went as the Vicar of St. Francis, Barkingside to a Public Meeting which was supposed to be a “consultation” It was nothing of the sort; it was members of the PCT expounding the virtues of what they proposed and not giving any of the people present the chance to ask any questions. I was so disgusted that I walked out. Since then there have been many public meetings, protest marches etc.

To get all the local MP’s to agree to fight the proposals is something of a coup but that is what has happened in the Romford/Ilford areas. MP’s have worked together despite their different political loyalties in an attempt to defeat this crazy proposal.

Queens Hospital, Romford has come under severe criticism for the care, or lack of it, it has given patients in its Maternity Wards. The Quality Care Commission has today stated that, following an earlier inspection when various proposals were made to Queens they are still not up to standard and will be subject to a further examination early next year,


Despite some signs of improvement in recent months, patients still remain at risk of poor care, particularly those receiving maternity services.

Problems found in maternity services include:

  • poor clinical care.
  • abusive and unprofessional behaviour from staff.
  • a lack of learning from maternal deaths and incidents.
  • lack of leadership from senior management.

Other areas of concern can be found below.

  • A&E services at Queen’s Hospital struggled to meet the target for admissions.
  • Staff vacancies were filled by agency, locum or bank staff which had an impact on the quality of care.
  • Lines of communication within the new structure were unclear.
  • Trust governance systems and corporate governance were weak.
  • Response to complaints was poor.

We have now made 16 key recommendations to the trust, which we will monitor through unannounced inspections.

We will then review evidence in March 2012 to determine whether it is delivering improvements or not.

I wonder just what Andrew Lansley, the Minster concerned, thinks the advantages will be of putting Queen’s Hospital under even more pressure having to take patients from a greatly extended catchment area when it can’t cope with those it has already. Earlier this year, Queens was “blue lighting” Emergency patients to King George Hospital because it was under such great pressure. Heaven above knows what it will do when A&E at King George is closed. Travel into and out of Romford is never easy and is even more difficult during the rush hours a.m. and p.m. I suspect that the delays in transporting emergency patients from the Ilford area to Queens will have a pretty deleterious effect on them even resulting in unnecessary deaths


  1. Like you, Father, I also heard the news today of the Health Secretary's decision with utter dismay and disbelief.

    Given the report earlier in the day aboout the CQC's latest findings at Queens, the announcement defies all logic and reason. I can only assume that Andrew Lansley is as inept as some councillors in challenging the advice given by his officials. And this despite all the pre-election hype, spin, and big talk about keeping hospital facilities threatened with closure.

    I first supported a Conservative candidate in the 1951 general election when I was a Young Conservative in Dagenham, and have voted for the party at every election since 1957. I have no hesitation in saying, given the events of the last 17 months, that I shall never vote for the party again for so long as Cameron remains its leader. I would have more confidence in buying goods or services from a "cold caller" at the front door (and I certainly shall not do that!).

    In the meantime the campaign to keep the facilities at King George Hospital must continue.

  2. I see that Heather Mullin, who has led the "review" of services at King George, has now been appointed to oversee the closures - a bit like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.