CONDEMNED emergency and maternity wards serving the borough could be granted a reprieve.

The wards at King George Hospital, Ilford, are set to close after health bosses decided to send patients elsewhere, but campaigners claim the consultation on the plans was flawed and that most GPs were against the decision.

After pressure from a group of MPs, health secretary Andrew Lansley asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, which looks into disputed healthcare decisions on his behalf, to consider the decision.

He has now announced that a full review is needed, which anyone can submit evidence to.

Campaigners have welcomed the move, which could mean the wards are kept open.

Ilford North MP Lee Scott, who was part of the group of MPs that pushed for the review, said: “The battle is not over, but this is a victory.

“We felt that the initial decision was flawed because of the way they conducted (the consultation).

“The arguments they put up that the doctors were behind it is not what I have been hearing and none of it adds up.”

Health for North East London wants to send patients to A&E and maternity wards at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone and Queen's in Romford, where it plans to expand maternity services, instead of King George.

Campaigner and Wanstead Society member Geoff Horsnell, 60, who is helping to organise a petition against the closures, said the decision was “good news”.

“There is quite a bit of work for us to do now,” he added. “A lot of detail was put forward by Health for North East London, so we have to go through that.”

Chairwoman of the Counties Residents' Association and veteran health campaigner Helen Zammett, who also lives in Wanstead, said: “I think it's an excellent decision and a vital one.

“The experts have seen some of the huge fundamental flaws that this proposal had.”

She said Health for North East London's own paperwork had shown that fewer than half the GPs consulted on the closures had not responded and she hoped this would be taken into consideration by the review panel.

Evidence can be submitted to the panel by emailing or visiting