Shambles!: Thurrock Council health boss slams NHS and GP over East Tilbury Medical Centre

THURROCK Council officers, local health organisations and councillors attended a busy set of public meetings on Wednesday 12 October following the news that patients of the East Tilbury Medical Centre had to find new GP practices because their one was closing in just two weeks.The closures affect two practices, East Tilbury Medical Centre and Corringham Medical Centre. Those who attend Corringham have been offered places at nearby alternatives but those who attend East Tilbury have been given a complex list of alternative GP practices, some with a much greater travel distance, some who have closed books and some who are taking only selected patients.The meeting was arranged by the East Tilbury Patient Participation Group and was attended by hundreds of affected people from East Tilbury so many in fact the venue couldn’t accommodate them all and a relay of meetings had to take place as attendees waited outside.Portfolio Holder for Education and Health, Cllr James Halden, attended all four meetings that day.Speaking after, he said: “Personally, I think it outrageous. This mess has been caused by Dr Gorai and his bankruptcy, but NHS England has not made a bad situation better. But I am pleased that they have now acknowledged this and are taking some steps.”Somebody said at the meeting that they’re fed up of being referred to as lists’. They aren’t lists they are people. They are people who have attended this surgery for years in some cases, for generations.”Whilst this is not a matter the council can control, we have made it clear we will be looking into the issues raised. We were not consulted or approached to discuss possible alternatives.”Money is often allocated before the start of the financial year and big capital purchases are planned sometimes years in advance.”That said, it is an absolute shambles we disagree with how it has been handled and we agree with lots of what has been said in the meetings by residents.”I am pleased to read the decision to close the practice has been put on hold following council and CCG pressure. He added: “We will use that time take away what we heard and look at what we are a council can do to support the health provision in East Tilbury. Residents can look-up local health services on the NHS Choices website at nhs.uk/service-search

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