Sunday, February 20, 2011

Save The Accident & Emergency

Following last week's council resolution, there was a meeting of representatives from Havering and Redbridge on Friday, to plan the way forward.

New figures obtained from the plans show that outer London is set to lose out again. With A & E focused on Queen's Hospital for three London boroughs, that overstretched unit will have to serve a population of over 700,000. This compares unfavourable with the North East Inner London hospitals each serving a single borough of just 200,000 people. No doubt the statistics claiming that Inner London has greater 'needs', poverty etc. will be trotted out again but account never seems to be taken of Havering's large elderly population. Older people need more hospital services.

And whilst Waltham Forest Council have decided no to oppose the changes, we noted that there had been no assessment of the additional pressure that will be placed on A & E at Whips Cross Hospital. Residents of Wanstead and Woodford are far more likely to present themselves there rather than travel all the way to Romford.


It was noted that the response to the original consultation had been very low. Of 57,000 questionnaires sent out, only 3,080 (5.4%) had been returned. Of these, 29% were returned by NHS employees who obviously have access to more information about the changes and who view them largely from their position as providers rather than users of the service.

Campaign dates

The main event will be the rally on Friday 8th April, with a march starting from Queen's Hospital at 4pm. The march will conclude - for those who stick with it - at Ilford Town Hall where all the MPs from the two boroughs will address the crowd. There will also be some words of support from former Mayor Ken Livingstone.

The day before - Thursday 7th April - will see a visit to Downing Street by a delegation of six councillors from both boroughs, to deliver a letter making the case for keeping the A& E at King Georges.

And campaigns always need money so we are arranging a fund raising dinner for 11th March, venue to be announced, but somewhere convenient for both boroughs is being sought.

Our next campaign meeting will take place on 4th March.

After the meeting Redbridge Cllr Andy Walker did a short interview with me and it can be seen at


Redbridge resident said...

"There will also be some words of supportfrom former mayor Ken Livingstone".

And from current mayor Boris Johnson? Whilst he doubtless supports the cause from the safety of the sanctum sanctorum, what chance is there of him appearing on the front line?

Roman said...

The public questionaire that was distributed was a nightmare - it asked questions that could only be answered by those with expert knowledge.

Regardless of one's views on the proposals, it has been a PR disaster. And many of us will have negative views about the proposals because of the appalling management of BHRT hospitals over the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

David Cameron promised on TV they would protect the NHS. Is this him breaking an election promise?

You are right about the inner/outer London issue. Places like Canary Wharf are in Tower Hamlets. But that is counted as inner London.

Hackney is seeing a lot of regeneration and gentrification. It is a changed place. Yet Hackney is also classed as inner London.

It shoudl be ironic that better off people can afford to live in Zone 1 and 2 and they should receive greater funding. Ugh?

Outer London Borough are unequal in economic wealth, for instance Barking is not the same as Richmond and bother in Zone 4

Redbridge resident said...

The "zones" relate purely to charging arrangements for public transport and have no relation to economic or social standing.

Mrs Angry said...

Words of support from Ken Livingstone? Oh crikey: strange bedfellows for you, Roger ... I do have great sympathy for the campaign to keep this service open, and I think your point about an ageing population is a good one, but the harsh truth is that equally savage and painful cuts are being made as a result of Tory policies everywhere, with a similar impact on the most vulnerable members of society. Here in Barnet, for example, wardens are being removed from sheltered housing, vital childrens centres closed, educational psychological support services slashed. By your own party's arguments, you might be expected to accept that cuts in service are inevitable. I would like to think that if this campaign were happening in another borough, you would support the fight: but would you really?

Roger Evans said...

Mrs A, I understand your inclination to turn this into part of the wider 'Tory Cuts' narrative but of course the closure plans were put together under a Labour government. The plans are not intended to save money, but to improve healthcare - the 'experts' say.

In Havering & Redbridge we are resisting the temptation to draw political battle lines and instead we work together on a cross party basis. Ken will be present but so will Iain Duncan Smith, and other Conservative MPs. The video that I have linked to was recorded by a Labour colleague, but it's none the worse for that.

The government may have changed but the arguments have remained the same and to pretend otherwise would undermine our efforts to protect our hospitals.

Mrs Angry said...

mmm, I'm afraid I don't see much difference between the Labour fondness for market forces in public services and the Tory one, but the lie about cuts in service or amalgamation of services being intended to 'improve'provision is one which is now being used to justify cuts in frontline services everywhere. Here in Tory Barnet we are being terrorised by the 'easycouncil' nonsense which claims it will deliver 'better services for less money'. It's the same lie, the same excuse for cuts or a reduced service. Unless you accept that need comes before profit and 'efficiency', Rog, you might be in danger of turning into a swivel eyed trot ... now there's a thought! Here's the test: and I see you evaded the question - if the threat to this hospital was in say, Barnet, rather than your area, would you support the fight against the proposals, or are you succumbing to nimbyism?

Redbridge resident said...

I think that final barb, Mrs Angry, is a little unfair. In a representative democracy (parliament, assembly, borough council) the elected member has a primary responsibility to advance the interests of the residents of the area that he/she represents. That is irrespective of political preference, and irrespective of whether or not a particular resident voted for the winning candidate.

Thus Mr Evans supports this campaign that is in the perceived best interests of residents in Havering and Redbridge, as do at least 6 local members of parliament divided across two political parties, and local councillors from all parties. To their credit, there were Labour activists in Redbridge opposing the hospital reorganisation proposals well before the 2010 general election.

Mrs Angry said...

no: the question remains, would he support a fight against a similar threat in another area ... I would like to think so, as I am sure he is a decent man and not likely to be in favour of reducing any health services, but similar services are being cut due to Tory policy on spending cuts.
Yes, you expect a local politician to support local interests: forgive me if I am cynical, but here in our neck of the woods the Tory politicians are quite happy to see local interests ill served, eg in the loss of school building fund for special needs schools, and a certain person suggesting we had too generous a settlement from TFl.
Sorry Rog: shouldn't use you as the whipping boy but perhaps you can understand our frustrations here, where our elected representatives are so alienated from the feelings of the residents.
Great to hear Eric Pickles is on the side of bloggers though, wasn't it?!

andy walker said...

Good to see Roger and Chris Cummins campaign today to retain services at KGH at IRP office at Buckingham Palace Road.