By Gareth Iacobucci
GPs have been urged to oppose controversial plans to close A&E departments in East London, which according to one GP leader risk leaving patients to die ‘in the back of ambulances’.
The controversial plans would remove the A&E department at King George Hospital in Redbridg,e with patients expected to be seen at other hospitals outside the borough, or at a local polyclinic.
But Dr David Shubhaker, a GP in Redbridge and former secretary of Redbridge and Waltham Forest LMC, said the proposal would put patients’ lives at risk by forcing them to travel further to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, or Whipps Cross in Leytonstone.
He said: ‘I’m very concerned. The polyclinic is not giving urgent care at all. Journey times count and paramedics can’t do it all – I fear patients will die in the back of ambulances.’
Dr Shubhaker said he felt most local GPs shared his concerns, but were too scared of retribution from the PCT to speak out against the plan. But he urged them to come forward and make their voices heard.
‘I wish more GPs would speak out, but they are frightened of the PCT. I’m strongly of the feeling it will harm patients. That’s why I’m putting my neck on the block.’