Further concerns over the debt-ridden health trust serving Redbridge have been expressed, after it emerged that the number of children's beds at King George Hospital were reduced in 2010.

A petition, signed by 1,508 people and submitted to the council by campaigner Andy Walker, urged authority to write to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt to ask for extra funding and support for the beleagured Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust (BHRUT)

BHRUT board meeting documents show the trust was forced to reduce the number of children's beds in the paediatric ward from 25 to 18 due to staff shortages.

It comes after it was revealed on Wednesday that the trust is in £38.9 million debt - the second highest liability of all London trusts - and in April a policy to not take children to A&E at King George was uncovered.

The trust is under pressure to raise its quality of care after a damning report by the Care Quality Commission found patient safety was being compromised. 

The Labour-led council refused to write to Jeremy Hunt, but did agree to refer the petition to the council's health scrutiny committee.

BHRUT has been conatcted for comment.