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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2013

Scrap PFI, not our hospitals

Simon Carter

Despite widespread public opposition, in October 2011 the then health secretary - Tory Andrew Lansley - confirmed the closure of A&E department and maternity services at King George Hospital in Goodmayes, near Ilford, east London.

This closure was a cost-cutting exercise by the local health trust, saddled with an exorbitant 36-year PFI contract on the new Queen's Hospital in Romford.

The health trust is one of 22 NHS trusts nationally identified as being in severe financial difficulties due to PFI costs.

Queen's, which opened in 2006, replaced two previous existing hospitals but has fewer beds and staff.

Moreover, due to poor management and overuse of agency staff, the PFI hospital could not cope with the local population's healthcare demands.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report in 2012 slammed the hospital for "unacceptably poor care".

So, despite running down services at King George, the health trust has had to keep its A&E open until the CQC is satisfied that Queen's can cope. Meanwhile managers at Queen's are imposing a 'cap' on admissions to its A&E 'at busy times'!

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In The Socialist 6 February 2013:


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