Hospitals. They don’t always come to you.

The announced closure of A&E at King George by Andrew Lansley’s Independent Reconfiguration Panel reminded me of an eminent Conservative who, if I remember correctly, said something like,

“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.


7 thoughts on “Hospitals. They don’t always come to you.

  1. Closing King George’s A&E is an utter disgrace. I’m lucky enough to be a few minutes from Queen’s but living where you do the additional travel time could end up being a matter of life and death.

    I shudder to think what additional burdens the and waiting times this will bring.

    At the moment entrusting anything new to Queens given the lambasting it got last week.

    • Hello Jams. Queen’s will have an enormous cachment. The traffic getting onto Eastern Ave is often heavy. Looking at Google Maps traffic info right now (Monday lunchtime peak time for accidents) it’s red round Newbury Park at the junction Barkingside residents might well be using, and also some red stretches down the alternative route – A118 round Goodmayes.We’d be best to come over the top, down Fairlop road and join further east.

      Of course, traffic problems on the A12 would affect routes to King George from Ilford, too – but the thing about George is that it’s right on the edge and doesn’t have a 360 degree rush hour like Romford does.

      They’re going to need loads more ambulances to speed up the journey.

      The Queens by the Care Quality Commission is very important – at the same time I don’t want to object to closing King George on that basis. Queens needs to improve whether or not King George closes – doing Queens down risks impeding that improvement (they have trouble attracting senior A&E medics for example), so I don’t want to join in with that…

  2. These are important points you make Flesh. I simply cannot see how centralisation f services at Queen’s is in anyway an improvement of services.

    While traffic is absolutely no fun wherever we are in Havering/Redbridge/B&D it certainly can be hell getting in to Romford from any direction. King George is far better placed to serve the needs of people in the west of the catchment area.

    Once again I think it is a bloody stupid idea to close its A&E

  3. I can’t comment on this closure, not living near to or knowing the details intimately. For me it would be akin to where I live, in Norwich – what would the response times be and has this been tested?

    As an aside, the zombie on the bus looks like me…on a ‘good’ day 😉

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