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.
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 www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlTr909EYYs