A leader of the successful campaign to save services at Lewisham Hospital has warned King George Hospital could be closed altogether, after it emerged children are not longer being taken to the accident and emergency department by ambulance.
Dr Louise Irvine is chairwoman of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, which protested against plans to close maternity services and A&E at the south London hospital.
The same closures are planned at King George in Goodmayes, but Dr Irvine warned the community that the hospital could be lost altogether unless more members of the community speak out.
Like campaigners in Redbridge, Dr Irvine believes the closure of the A&E will put enormous strain on Queen’s Hospital in Romford.
She said the A&E at Queen’s was already taking around 130,000 patients a year when there was only capacity for 90,000.
Dr Irvine added: “Just the possibility of losing services at a hospital can have wide reaching consequences.
“We are still recovering from the proposed loss of a maternity ward at Lewisham, mothers have no confidence in having a child at a ward that was earmarked for closure.
“Queen Mary Hospital in Sidcup lost its A&E in 2010 and it has now become a shell of a building,
“no one wants to apply for a job at a hospital that is closing services, patients lose confidence and go to other hospitals. I could see this happening at King George Hospital if the A&E is closed.
“Queen’s Hospital is over capacity and this is going to get worse if King George is downsized.
“There is still a service to be provided at King George, it seems they are not making full use of the facilities on offer.
“There seems to be a deliberate closing down of King George, I really fear for its future.
“I am urging the public to do all they can to stop the closure of A&E and join the campaign, it worked for us."
This week Cllr Andy Walker revealed he had been informed that seriously ill or injured children have not been taken by ambulance to the A&E department at King George since November 2010.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge Univeristy Trust (BHRUT) claimed in an email seen by the Guardian that children could get better care at Queen's A&E department.
A Care Quality Commission report last year found A&E patients were being put at risk at both hospitals due to poor care standards.