Councillor furious over “Sicknote” jibe

A DEBATE over the standard of care at Basildon and Thurrock Hospital prompted a furious reaction from an irate councillor at Tuesday’s meeting of Thurrock Council.

Opposition leader Garry Hague had asked Council leader John Kent to update members on what action had been taken to resolve issues at the hospital in a recent report into its standards of care and cleanliness.

Cllr Kent responded by saying the Corporate Director of Community Wellbeing had written to the Secretary of State, expressing the Council’s concern.

Cllr Hague appeared less than satisfied and quizzed his counterpart, prompting a further response that Cllr Kent was determined to ensure pressure was kept up and he paid tribute to Conservative councillors Amanda Arnold (pictured) and Wendy Herd for giving up their position on the Council’s hospital watchdog committee to stand for election as hospital governors.

However, he said he hoped Cllr Arnold would do more than when she had last represented the Council on the governors, when she failed to attend any meetings.

This prompted a fiesty outburst from Cllr Arnold, who rose to demand an explanation of his comments – though she didn’t deny she hadn’t attended, but instead said others, including Labour representatives had failed to attend. Cllr Kent remained impassive, with Cllr Arnold then raising her voice, speaking angrily and demanding an apology, which wasn’t forthcoming.

Eventually the mayor, Cllr Anne Cheale brought the confrontation to a halt, moving to other matters.

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