THURROCK Council is writing to NHS England complaining about two proposed consultations that will affect local people.
Cllr Graham Snell, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said after Tuesday (16 February) evening’s meeting: “I was shocked to hear of NHS England’s high-handed attitude to Thurrock and its people.”
The committee had heard from Kim James, the chief operating officer of Healthwatch Thurrock, that there were concerns about plans for a consultation on the location of a PET scanner in south Essex, and moving urology services from Southend.
In October last year the committee had thrown out an NHS England proposal to move a high-tech medical scanner from Basildon Hospital to Southend – as had the Essex County Council overview and scrutiny team.
Cllr Snell said: “Back in the autumn we said there were major issues with NHS England’s proposals and nothing has changed, they are simply ignoring our views.
“The scanner should be at Basildon Hospital and not Southend, there is no doubt about that.”
“The consultation is unsound in many different ways, not least because a meeting is apparently being planned for the Beehive in Grays, but nobody is aware how it will be organised.”
He added: “Strangely, the second issue was around a proposed change in urology services, taking them away from Southend Hospital and centralising at centres across the region – none near Thurrock.
“What’s worse in this case is that no consultation event is planned in Thurrock at all – it seems NHS England claims there are no venues available in the borough.
“But these two things put us in a bit of a quandary. The natural thing to do is to say that if they’re ignoring us, then we should ignore them, but that means Thurrock’s voice won’t be heard.”
Cllr Snell said: “First of all, I want to thank Kim for bringing both these issues to our attention. We will be writing to NHS England so they are fully aware of our concerns.
“We also agreed to look into the possibility of working with our Health Overview and Scrutiny colleagues at Southend and Essex and to see if a joint response to NHS England might have an effect.
“In addition our friends in the Thurrock NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, or CCG, have said they’ll find a venue for a meeting on the urology plans as well as pressuring their national colleagues over the PET scanner.
“And finally, we will be asking NHS England for copies of all their consultation documents to be sent to us as soon as possible.”