A DELEGATION of councillors and MPs confronted the Department of Health in a bid to end “six years of uncertainty and lost opportunities” over the future of King George A&E.

Mike Gapes, MP for Ilford South, Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, Councillor Mark Santos and Cllr Jas Athwal brought a letter to Jeremy Hunt on Monday, September 11, demanding the reversal of the decision to close the Goodmayes hospital’s A&E department.

The letter outlines campaigners’ worries and brands former health secretary Andrew Lansley’s decision to close the hospital as “always being a ridiculous plan which could not be safely implemented.”

Cllr Santos said: “The health of Redbridge residents is the highest priority. I know from my discussions with local residents and clinicians that there is a great deal of concern over the plans to close the A&E. I struggle to find anyone in the NHS locally who thinks this can be achieved in 2019.

“The local situation has changed, and so it is now time for this decision to be looked at again to make sure there remains an effective A&E service in the borough.”

Cllr Athwal said lives are dependent on the hospital’s A&E remaining open: “The borough’s population is estimated to grow significantly over the next 15 years, with the population expected to reach 362,000 by 2030.

“The King George A&E is an important vital service that will be increasingly utilised as the borough grows – it must remain open. This isn’t about politics, it’s about saving lives.”

More than 10,000 residents have signed petitions requesting the decision be reversed. Hundreds of people attended a rally in March this year in support of the A&E.

Philip Dunne, a health minister, said it would be “unlikely” that the A&E would be wound up in two years after being quizzed by Mr Gapes and Mr Streeting on July 10.

Mr Dunne said: “It is conceivable that it would be concluded by the end of 2019, but a two-year process is likely to be required as a minimum.”

The Guardian has approached the Department of Health for comment.