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Closed’ casualty stays open for its walk-in wounded

PUBLISHED: 12:02 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:38 25 August 2010

A CLOSED A&E had to re-open for blue-light emergencies after the hospital tasked with taking on its overflow closed due to a virus outbreak. The A&E at Queen Mary s Hospital in Sidcup (QMS) closed between 8pm and 8am last September, meaning emergency pa

A CLOSED A&E had to re-open for blue-light emergencies after the hospital tasked with taking on its overflow closed due to a virus outbreak.

The A&E at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup (QMS) closed between 8pm and 8am last September, meaning emergency patients had to go to Bromley or Woolwich to receive attention or for less serious cases use the Urgent Care Centre at QMS.

But last Thursday staff at the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough (PRUH), had to be sent to QMS after the Bromley hospital closed due to a norovirus outbreak.

On Monday, eleven patients who had been seen at the A&E in Woolwich's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) had to be transferred to Sidcup and Bromley.

These alarming revelations come after patients accused bosses of lying about QMS' A&E opening times.

One Chislehurst patient who went to its Urgent Care Centre at 9.30pm early in February, said she was told to go to the A&E next door where doctors and nurses were still working.

The patient's husband, John Hemming-Clark, a campaigner against the Sidcup A&E closure, said: "A nurse said it was only closed at 8pm for ambulances - the man in the street can still use A&E, any evening of the week, up to 10pm.

"QMS' website states that A&E is closed from 8pm as do the posters actually in the UCC and A&E.

"Why is this? Could it be that Queen Mary's Trust wants no one in A&E so it can say that as it's not being used in the evening, it's no longer financially viable, despite it being full to bursting during the day?

"The moral of the story is if local people need QMS' A&E between 8pm and 10pm - don't call an ambulance, call a taxi."

A spokesman for the South London Healthcare NHS Trust admitted to the Times, that in fact the department is open hours after it claims to be closed so staff can finish working on patients who arrived before 8pm.

They added: "If someone arrives in the unit during this time who needs urgent attention or is someone who has an injury which can be dealt with quickly and we have the capacity, then we would make the right decision on an ad hoc basis in the best interests of the patient.


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