Seriously ill or injured children are not being taken by ambulance to an Accident and Emergency department which is due to close next year, it has emerged.
Young patients have been transported to Queen’s Hospital in Romford, rather than King George Hospital in Goodmayes, since November 2010.
Cllr Andy Walker raised concerns about the policy after being approached by a constituent whose child was affected.
He said: “We only just found this out and it is shocking really.
“I am very concerned. Ambulances are on the road for more than they need to be.
“This impacts on response times and to have to travel five more miles could really be putting children at risk.
“I am working on a letter because we knew nothing of this.
“[The trust] say it was discussed with the council but this was not the case as I was at the meetings."
A Care Quality Commission report last year found A&E patients were being put at risk at both hospitals, which are run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust (BHRT), due to poor care standards.
The A&E department at King George is due to close in December 2015.
A Freedom of Information request by Cllr Walker has also revealed ambulance response times in London have risen from 19 minutes in February 2013 to 21.3 minutes this year.
However, BHRT denied the policy was putting children at risk.
In an email sent to Cllr Walker, who represents Chadwell ward, BHRT said: “Patients need to be taken to the setting that will provide them with the best care and the best outcomes.
“This won’t always be to the nearest hospital. This principle has saved hundreds of lives in recent years for stroke and heart attack patients in London alone.
“With a dedicated ‘high dependency’ suite for children at Queen’s Hospital, improving care for those who need more intensive nursing and medical input, it was agreed that children who were acutely unwell should be taken directly to that service.
“This ensures that children with complex and high dependency needs receive the appropriate care as quickly as possible and prevents any delays in care from transfer between sites.”