EMBATTLED health chiefs are once again under fire after it was revealed that 14 patients were left to wait outside hospitals in ambulances for at least an hour in the course of just one week.
The revelation of the ‘black breaches’ came at a board meeting of the Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust.
Directors heard the breaches, which occurred in the week beginning September 17, were caused by lack of bed availability within the trust which oversees both King George Hospital in Ilford and Queen’s Hospital in Romford.
And it also revealed that Queen’s Hospital failed to meet national targets that month for seeing 95 per cent of all patients within four hours of them attending A&E with just 85 per cent seen in time.
The government wants to close A&E services at King George, but Averil Dongworth, the chief executive has admitted that the Trust is not yet equipped to deal with any reconfiguration.
At a meeting of the Redbridge Health Scrutiny Committee on October 22 she seemed unaware of the September statistics, saying: “We have got much better at avoiding black breaches.
“We have had two recently, and two a few weeks ago, but before that we went for several months without having any.”
But at the committee’s latest meeting last night (November 12), committee member, Neil Zammett, said the updated figures provided yet more proof that any move to close A&E services at King George would be misguided.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I can’t comment on whether they (BHRUT) would have had this information before the last meeting.
“All I can say is it is now clear that the situation deteriorated in September and that they were experiencing very high workloads.
“With the winter approaching I am worried about their ability to cope.
“Any sensible person can see that with such a high workload it is very unlikely any move will be able to go ahead for the foreseeable future.”