GPs case for keeping Newham General Hospital

Doctors worried the current financial problems at Barts Health may jeopardise the future of Newham General Hospital have written to patients about their concerns.

Although bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust have said they have no plans to cut services the chair of the Newham Clinical Commissioning Group has said the borough’s residents need a local general hospital that provides a range of appropriate, good quality services including emergency care.

In a letter distributed to patients in Newham, Dr Zuhair Zarifa said : “We believe that there is an undeniable case to maintain a major general hospital in Newham (currently based in Glen Road, Plaistow) based on our growing population as well as current need.

“Securing the future of Newham General Hospital for our residents in any plans that are made is key to any agreements we have with Barts Health now and in the future.”

He said the CCG would be working with partners across Newham, including HealthWatch, so that they could make informed decisions about the health services needed.

Mark Santos, chair of HealthWatch Newham, said: “On behalf of patients and local residents we expect that during this time of difficulty that good care and quality experience for the patients and families is at the heart of what Barts Health does.”

A spokeswoman for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “The Trust have no plans to cut or remove services at any of our hospitals. We are currently looking at all the services we provide to identify and remove areas of waste and duplication. We work tirelessly with all our CCGs, including Newham, to ensure that patient safety and care is of the highest possible standard.”

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Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs six hospitals across the capital including Newham University in Plaistow and The Royal London in Whitechapel, is the largest trust in the NHS.

It recently revealed it has put itself into “financial turnaround” after discovering it was way behind its target to save £77 million.

A report to the board has revealed it has a deficit of £24.4 million and has revised its forecast to £50 million by the year-end.