Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/652/10871
NHS cutbacks - health bosses and government to blame
A 'FINAL consultation' meeting of the inner and outer north east London primary care trusts on 15 December decided to close the Accident and Emergency department at the King George hospital in Goodmayes, east London.
Simon Carter, east London Socialist Party
This decision was made against the backcloth of billions of pounds of "efficiency savings", ie cuts, in the National Health Service (NHS) by the coalition government. It further undermines the claim by David Cameron that the NHS will be protected by the government.
The closure of the King George A&E by 2013 (and also the closure of maternity services by 2012) will be a disaster in terms of healthcare provision across four London boroughs and parts of Essex. It will leave one million people with only two hospitals that can provide critical care for patients.
Indeed, at the December PCT meeting an ambulance driver pointed out that even before any closure decision the King George A&E was already being run down, with no admissions of children. However, patients taken by ambulance to the A&E at Queen's Hospital in Romford (several miles away) had been referred back to King George because critical care facilities at Queen's were overstretched.
The PCTs have attempted to reassure the public that a 24-hour 'urgent care' facility will be installed on the King George Hospital site. However, everyone knows that a 'polyclinic' (a minor injuries treatment centre) cannot serve as a substitute for an emergency department.
In reality, the closure decision is a cynical cost cutting measure dressed up as a clinical reorganisation.
It is also common knowledge that the cost of servicing the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract, through which Queen's Hospital was built, has left the health trust deep in debt.
The local Tory and Labour MPs in Ilford and the Tory-Lib Dem run Redbridge council are opposed to closure - not because they oppose the market-oriented policies of the previous Labour and present Tory-Lib Dem governments - but because of political 'nimbyism' ie don't close the A&E department in our backyard.
The Socialist Party has for the last four years (the closure of the A&E has been threatened twice before under the last Labour government) been campaigning in the local community against closure.
As part of the campaign the Socialist Party has demanded an end to privatisation policies such as PFI schemes which have wrecked the NHS, and instead called for a publicly owned, fully-funded and democratically run health service. The fight goes on.
In The Socialist 5 January 2011:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party review