MP backs campaign against A&E closure

Health campaigners fear bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust may close A&E at Newham University Hospital

Health campaigners fear bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust may close A&E at Newham University Hospital - Credit: Archant

MP Steven Timms backed a campaign to oppose any attempt by health chiefs to close Newham University Hospital’s A&E department at a public meeting.

Shutting the department is one of the options Barts NHS Health Trust is believed to be considering to reduce its £50 million deficit.

However the Trust says it has no plans to axe the casualty unit “now or in the future”.

Over 110 people attended the meeting organised by Newham Save Our NHS campaign at East Ham Town Hall on Wednesday night at which Mr Timms, MP for East Ham, told the audience he had welcomed Newham Hospital joining the Barts Trust when it merged in April 2012.

However, he said there was an increasing concentration on big centres with sophisticated equipment and warned: ”If we don’t watch that carefully, things could go against Newham.”

He said there was a suggestion the emergency surgery service at Newham could be removed.

“We have to resist any proposal to take it away,” he added.

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Mr Timms believes the board of Barts health trust needs more representation from the people who work in the borough as a counter balance.

He said: “If you look at the board, only one of the 10 members has worked at Newham and that person has now got a job in Australia.

“I think Barts should appoint an executive director with experience of working at Newham and a non-executive to represent the community.”

Ron Ferguson, a teacher at Newham Sixth Form College, claimed his students would be affected by what he called a local attack on services and an agenda to privatise health provision while Newham resident, Christine Macdonald, described the hospital as “lifeline” which needed to be safeguarded.

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