James Brokenshire has warned that other hospitals may not be able to cope with increased demand from patients following the 'temporary' closure of the A & E Department at Queen Mary's Hospital. The MP joined other local campaigners in a demonstration outside of the hospital on the morning of the closure to underline the community's opposition to the withdrawal of the casualty department.
Patients will now be forced to travel to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich, the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley or Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford for A&E treatment. Whilst Queen Mary's will retain an urgent care centre for minor injuries, the facility will not be able to deal with emergency cases and patients will be 'blue lighted' by ambulance to one of the alternative hospitals.
Commenting James Brokenshire said:
"This is a very sad day for Queen Mary's. Despite all of the efforts of local politicians and campaigners, the hospital trust has been able to by-pass national policy by using arguments of clinical safety. My fear is that other local hospitals simply won't be able to cope with the increased numbers of patients and quality of treatment will be adversely affected as a result. That's without the ward closures that often happen because of hospital infection issues over the winter months.
"Whilst A&E may now have been closed on a 'temporary' basis, I believe that Queen Mary's can have a positive future. The Health Secretary has said that he has not reached a decision on the future of hospital services in South East London and does not consider bound by the views of NHS London or the local hospital trust in reaching his view. I will press the Department of Health to commit to a positive vision for Queen Mary's and healthcare in Bexley.
"Whilst today may have been one of the darkest day for our local hospital, I believe it can have a brighter future. We need to continue to campaign to make this happen."