NHS boss claims replacements for Orsett Hospital will cope with population growth

Tom Abell

AN NHS manager has said he is confident the proposed medical centres replacing Orsett Hospital will cope with Thurrock’s increasing population.

The chief transformation officer at the Basildon and Thurrock Hospital Trust, Tom Abell, told a health and scrutiny committee on Thursday that the modern facilities available at the new medical centres will allow then NHS to adjust to the borough’s population growth.

He said: “These new developments, particularly ones that are bringing young families, call for different types of services than what we currently provide at Orsett.

“If you take the Purfleet development as an example, we know there will be a number of young families so one of the things we are actively looking at is whether there is an opportunity to move paediatric care into that area because we know there will be a greater need.

“That is something we do not currently provide in Orsett and it is only provided in Basildon.”

When he was pressed by the committee on whether he has confidence in the new facilities he answered, “In short, yes”, explaining the modern facilities can be used “more effectively” and provide expansion space.

He also elaborated on his guarantee that all the services available in Thurrock will remain in Thurrock.

“The vast majority of the services we provide are outpatients and diagnostics,” he said.

“The intention is that those outpatient services will be provided equally across the integrated medical centres and Basildon and Brentwood. The way that could work is, for example orthopaedic outpatients, could be provided on different days at different centres and there will be a choice then of where people are referred to, they could be referred to the centre of their choice.”

However, he added not all the services will be able to operate on a rotating basis and some are “fixed”. These are the minor injuries and renal dialysis.

As it is not viable to replicate them across all of the centres these are likely to be located only at the Grays centre, which is considered the most central location.

Members of the committee stressed to Mr Abell that the majority of residents are unhappy about the decision to close the hospital and agreed to establish a council-led task force that focusses on the issue.

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