Imminent casualty closure at Welwyn Garden City’s QE2 Hospital
PUBLISHED: 12:29 24 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:33 24 September 2014
Treatment for heart attack and stroke patients will soon disappear from Welwyn Garden City’s QE2 Hospital, as its accident and emergency (A&E) department will close on Wednesday next week.
Although health bosses have said the replacement urgent care centre would treat the vast majority of patients who currently use the A&E department, its closure has been criticised by Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps.
He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Given our growing population and the new NHS chief executive for England’s call to make hospital healthcare more local, this is a retrograde steps which puts the health and welfare of local people at risk.”
The East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has said the urgent care centre, unlike the A&E department, will be open at night, and treat children of all ages.
Dr Hari Pathmanathan, a GP who has been helping organise the transfer of services to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, said: “The decision to centralise A&E services at the Lister Hospital in a new, expanded specialist emergency department, was made after a wide-ranging public consultation across Hertfordshire in 2007.
“Evidence shows that on the rare occasions when people have life-threatening medical emergencies, their survival and recovery rates are much better if they are treated by doctors who treat lots of critically ill patients every day, rather than just one or two a week.
“Anyone who thinks they are having a heart attack, stroke or any other serious, life-threatening condition, should dial 999 immediately.
“They will be treated by paramedics and taken by ambulance straight to the new emergency department at the Lister Hospital, [after October 1] where specialist staff and equipment will increase their chances of making a good recovery.”
The urgent care centre will open next week in the existing hospital, but move to the new building under construction on the QE2 site in spring 2015.
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