Since June 2015 Jon Cruddas MP has been contacted by a number of female constituents from across Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park regarding the closure of their local Breast Screening Unit. The Screening Unit, located at the Victoria Centre on Pettits Lane closed in May 2015.

Jon made representation at the time by contacting the Chief Executive of BHRUT (Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust). The closure of the service means that women in Rainham now have to get a 287 and 193 bus, crossing over the busy A13 to get to King Georges Hospital which takes approx. 1hr 40mins. Jon’s concern is that after taking into consideration the long journey, many women may be deterred from attending, which is a step backwards in encouraging and promoting preventative health measures.

The trust responded by informing and reassuring Jon that the ‘vast majority of Havering women having routine breast screening already go to Harold Wood polyclinic for this service’. However there are still a large number of women that relied on those more local services, which have now been relocated to the Elm Breast Care Centre at King Georges Hospital. The journey is an average of 2.3 miles for local residents – but the Trust has given assurances that they are working closely with Transport for London to improve transport links.

Jon commented: “This issue is a serious concern of mine. At present the local NHS Trust has given assurances that transport links will be improved, and that alongside this there is ample parking space at the relocated facilities in King Georges Hospital. The main concern is that elderly women that are due to be retested in 2016 will be put off by the long journey, and will not attend screening dates. If they do not drive, are deterred from public transport, and do not have access to Dial-a-Ride services then we have a problem.

“Access to good healthcare facilities should be paramount and I will continue to stay on top of this issue. I have asked about the possibility of routine checks at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, and I will write to Transport for London to see how far along they are with improvements to public transport links.”