“There was a very good programme the other day that talked about Ilford and the fact there was a hospital in Romford; but many of the sick in Ilford had become static and didn’t know that if they got on a bus for an hour’s journey, they’d be in Romford and could look for the hospital there. My point is we need to recognise that the hospitals don’t always come to you – sometimes you need to go to the hospitals.”
Rousing words – but what do they mean in practice?
A&E attendance last year tended to peak on Mondays in March around lunchtime (yes, after the sustained media bombardment of intoxicated British youth in stiletto platforms falling over and jabbing each other with broken bottles on Friday and Saturday nights, I found that surprising too.)
So taking the first Monday lunchtime (though in November), what is the journey time from the still- beating heart of Barkingside (Fullwell Cross) to Queen’s in distant Romford?
On the 12.30 bus, Journey Planner tells me it will take the promised mere hour – 58 minutes with a change. That’s 39 minutes to Romford Market on the 247, then another 14 on the next bus, though if you made it to the station you might be able to crawl from there. On the way you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights of Hainault, passing tantalisingly close to King George before dodging left towards Collier Row. Oh, and there seem to be major engineering works near the station that day – and in fact every day until 2013 – which may or may not cause diversions (Journey Planner acting a little whimsical here).
What if you can afford to take a taxi, or even have a friend wih a car? Google Maps gives a choice of three routes between 6.8 and 7.7 miles and all between 19 and 20 minutes – but we know the traffic is extremely variable. BJ Cars quoted me £13, Cab Mania, £58 for a Monday lunchtime ride – I’d imagine the first quote is too low and the second too high.
King George, incidentally, is anything up to 42 minutes on public transport, and 3.9 miles and 13 minutes from Fullwell Cross in a car.
Anyway, I know – the Conservative-led coalition don’t exactly want residents of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, or most parts of Redbridge to die early – they just don’t care much if we do.