Under pressure A&E departments get £7million boost

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The A&E department at King George has Been earmarked for closure The A&E department at King George has Been earmarked for closure

Health authorities have been given an extra £7million to help ease pressure on under-fire A&E departments at King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen's in Romford.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust and other local NHS groups have been handed the cash by the Department of Health as part of a range of grants totalling £250million across the UK.

The news comes as the initial findings of a review into safety at the trust's A&E departments is published this week.

The report, commissioned by Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), has concluded that both hospitals are safe in the short-term, but criticised the lack of clarity over the future of the sites.

Health bosses are planning to shut King George's A&E unit and move resources to Queen's, even though it is classed as performing worse.

A provisional date for the shake-up has been set for 2015, but no clear plans have been published.

The review said the uncertainty was "damaging to morale and makes recruitment difficult".

But it also found that there was no evidence that a high number of temporary staff working at the departments meant there was any additional risk to patients.

The CCGs said in a statement: "The review follows long-standing concerns about the performance of emergency care at the trust and more recent concerns about potential patient safety risks due to permanent medical staffing issues.

"The initial findings indicate that while safe 24 hour A&E services can be maintained on both sites in the short term, a number of steps should be taken to improve the emergency departments".

Dr Atul Aggarwal, Chair of Havering Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said efforts were underway to make improvements recommended by the review team. 

He added: “We also welcome the recent announcement by government of additional winter monies of £7million that will help us to accelerate the delivery of these improvements and we recognise that reducing the pressure on A&E services is a job for the whole health economy locally."

Chief executive of the trust, Averil Dongworth, said: “We welcome the review and hope that it will reassure our patients that we are offering safe, high quality care in our emergency departments."

The full review and its findings is expected to be published later this month.

 

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