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King George A&E faces closure again
Pete Mason, East London Socialist Party
King George Hospital A&E remains under threat. That's the warning from a march and rally on 26 November.
A year ago, in a major victory, Save King George campaigners forced reluctant Labour councillors from the affected London boroughs of Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham to back their campaign to force the government to keep the A&E open.
The result was a promise from the local sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) to review the proposed closure. Yet no review has taken place in the last year. Now, a new report from the STP excludes King George from a list of east London hospitals with A&Es.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has pulled its support for the campaign. It would not support the latest demonstration, which was backed by the Socialist Party, two residents' associations and others.
Campaign leader Andy Walker told Redbridge councillors: "Jeremy Corbyn says that a Labour government will save Telford A&E." So why can't Redbridge Labour-led council back our campaign?
If local councillors do not defend A&Es, campaigners should stand candidates against them.
Queens's Hospital in Romford, where many patients would have to go if the King George A&E closes, is already in "financial special measures" and has had £20 million in emergency bailouts. It was built through PFI, a 36-year obligation to pay back £211 million to big businesses like infrastructure-investment firm HCIL - which made £192 million in profits April-September 2018.
Meanwhile, as reported in the Socialist (see 'new winter crisis looms - Tories out now to save our NHS' at socialistparty.org.uk), King George has closed its chemotherapy ward, and there's already a threat that the A&E will close at night. Campaigners will challenge the lack of consultation on the cuts that have taken place and demand that they are stopped and reversed.
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