A and E or not A and E ?

Residents of Newham may be relieved to know that the original proposal in 2011 by BHRUT ( Barking , Havering, Redbridge University Trust ) to transfer patients redirected as a result of closure of King George’s Accident and Emergency Unit to Newham General and Whips Cross has apparently been scrapped. Unfortunately, it appears that the truth of the matter is not quite so simple and there are lessons for all of us here. In fact, the plan detailed in 2016 and revealed in a document made available in April 2019 reveals what in essence is a transformation of the A and E into…..an A and E , but not as we know it! NHSE have redefined A and E so we are battling here with a game of semantics. Type 1 A and E is what we all understand by the acronym as a unit offering 24 hour blue light emergency services ( ie. ambulances) and resuscitation etc. Type 2 A and E offers only specialist services such as ophthalmology with no 24 hour ambulance services. Type 3 are what are now boasted to be Urgent Care Centres. Again, they do not take blue light calls. So what is happening at King George is that the current A and E is to be transformed into an urgent care centre specialising in care for the elderly. So it is NOT an A and E service as we commonly understand the term and we are having the wool pulled over our eyes when told it is not closing.

The other game being played is to lump together 4 hour wait times between Type 1 and Type 2 patients currently attending King George’s. Ultimately the blue light service will be transferred to Queen’s hospital where the effects of a huge increase in intake will detrimentally affect health outcomes. In February 2019 the 4 hour waiting times looked good but when you separate out the Type 1 intake it transpires that only 69% of patients were seen inside the 4 hours. Be warned. Look closely at figures presented by any Trust in this way and don’t take it for granted that you are being given the whole picture when told that an A and E is not closing.

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