PERFORMANCE: The reshaping of emergency services at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has been delayed as it refocuses efforts on concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission.

Under its Health for North East London proposals, the accident and emergency department at King George Hospital was to be closed and the A&E at Queen’s Hospital expanded.

However, its recently appointed chief executive Matthew Hopkins, revealed at this month’s board meeting that the trust was now not working towards a deadline for the reshaping of services.

He revealed that a “major” piece of work was underway to “look again at the data”. This would review the projections of population and demand which were used to develop its original reconfiguration plan.

“It is crucial that we get that planning and detail right”, the board papers state. “In particular we have agreed with our health partners that we will not work towards a set deadline to reconfigure our A&E service.”  

The trust’s plans had been given a conditional green light in 2011 by then health secretary Andrew Lansley; his approval depended on Queen’s Hospital being assessed by the CQC as operating a high standard service.

The condition appeared unfulfilled in October when the CQC identified serious concerns at both trust A&Es, with inspectors reporting insufficient senior clinicians and over-reliance on locum doctors resulting in “unsafe care”.

In a statement to HSJ, Mr Hopkins said: “We must get our own house in order by tackling the issues raised by last year’s CQC inspection.”

He added: “Once I am confident we have achieved this and our improvements are sustainable, we will be in a position to implement the Health for North East London changes, supported by the most up-to-date data and modelling.”