The people of Barking and Dagenham have campaigned with me for years to get health services back onto the Barking Hospital site, after the original hospital was closed back in the 80s.
Last week I visited the new Hospital for the first time since the building work was completed. The facilities are fantastic – especially the new birthing unit, where we will finally see babies born in Barking again.
What I couldn’t believe is that this brand new hospital is standing empty.
Even though the buildings were handed over to the health authorities in March, the services are not ready to move in.
Officials have told me that most services won’t open until the end of the year.
That’s just not on. We desperately need these services now, particularly the maternity services and the new Urgent Care Centre.
And worst of all, we’re all paying £1 million a year to keep the empty buildings safe and secure. That’s a terrible waste of money.
This is a classic case of putting bureaucracy before patients and I’ve written to the Chief Executive of NHS London, Ruth Carnall, to express my dismay. Click here to see my letter to her.
It’s just like the proposals to close the A&E at King George Hospital – driven by bureaucrats who are completely out of touch with reality, ignoring the needs of patients.
They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. The Health Secretary has recently asked a special panel to review the plans to close the A&E and maternity services at King George. The panel has promised to listen to the views of local residents.
It’s our chance to make our voices heard, and I would really urge you to email or write in. It could be our last chance to save the hospital. Click here to make a submission to the panel.