In the London borough of Barking and Dagenham there are over 40 surgeries that operate 5 days a week; alongside the availability of 3 advice surgeries for residents within the borough and in the neighbouring borough of Havering.
However, health care is becoming a growing issue across Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge [BHR]. Local Labour MP Jon Cruddas has recently spoken out about the cuts and reduction of services locally, highlighting that it is "becoming ever more difficult for residents to access good quality health care" in the local area.
Recently Jon Cruddas was contacted by the local NHS University Trust (BHRUT) advising that emergency paediatric surgery at King George Hospital in Goodmayes has temporarily been suspended. As a result of this, residents will have to travel to Queen's Hospital in Romford, as it is now the only hospital which currently offers this aspect of emergency service.
Queen's Hospital has suffered heavily from criticism in the past, with a watchdog revealing a report which resulted in the hospital being left in ‘special measures'. The report showed that Accident and Emergency was not well kept, there was a lack of staff, and extremely long waiting times up to 6 hours or even beyond.
Last week Queen's Hospital was able to see over 90% of its patients due to a recently enforced system which redirects young adults and adults over the age of 16 to alternative options. These options include GP appointments and self-care. Due to the system being such a success, the BHRUT Chief Executive has stated this trial will be "extended" with "regular review". In further support of this, the Head of the Urgent Care Centre at Queen's Hospital, Sheraz Younas, said that the system will now allow for "more time to focus on patients who really need emergency care".
However, the consequences of the emergency paediatric surgery closing at King George Hospital, even just temporarily, will place a much bigger pressure on nurses and doctors at Queen's Hospital, as their facilities will inevitably extend past their maximum capacity. A recent CQC report has left surgeries such as Heathway Medical Centre as ‘inadequate' and requiring ‘improvement'.
Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas stated: "The redirection scheme is seemingly having a positive impact on services at Queen's but we should be looking at a long term solution for healthcare issues across the board. We need to be making a concerted effort to bring in more funding for local NHS services, something that I have campaigned on for years."
In order to improve the current situation, Jon Cruddas will be meeting with the heads of the local Clinical Commissioning Groups, and the Chief Executive of BHRUT to discuss the problems that various services are facing across the constituency. Jon also added; "as the local MP I will continue to [fight] to secure more funding for our NHS across Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park".