Public outcry as health bosses decide to close Orsett Hospital

ORSETT Hospital is set to close.

The decision was made at a special meeting of the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) which met in Chelmsford on Friday afternoon.

Eight of the board voted for the closure and one abstained. The one who abstained was a Thurrock GP who represents the Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group.

Recommendation 15: Orsett Hospital. The Joint Committee has approved the relocation of services currently provided at Orsett Hospital to a range of locations in Thurrock and south west Essex.

Cllr James Halden, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for Health, said: “We have worked hard with the NHS and I am delighted their decision reflects our understanding that Orsett Hospital will not close until our four new integrated medical centres are up and running and services are available.

“The council and NHS partners are investing about £80million to co-locate out-of-hospital and GP services together, to best serve local people.”

Tom Abell, Deputy Chief Executive of Basildon Hospital, which owns the Orsett site, said: “Today’s decision means the site will close when new facilities are open. The services people currently rely on in Thurrock will stay in Thurrock.

“We will now work with our patients to decide the best place to provide their services locally. I am looking forward to working with a Thurrock residents ‘people’s panel’ very soon to get this under way.

“I would encourage any current patients, their families and carers to look out for this and get involved.”

Thurrock Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, John Kent has slammed the decision.

Cllr Kent said: “This decision, though not a surprise, is still shocking and one that I, as a Thurrock resident, find very sad indeed.

“The 75% of Thurrock people who opposed the closure during the consultation have been ignored, and the 20,000 people who used the hospital last year overlooked.

“We have no guarantees that vital services will be relocated elsewhere in Thurrock just jargon about co production and people’s panels.

“The process has been a sham. We all know the hospital is being closed so the site can be sold for housing as part of the government campaign to raise £2 billion from selling NHS assets.

“There has been a hospital in Orsett for each of the 70 years of our NHS and we must keep on opposing its closure until the very last.”

Thurrock Independents Party Leader, Cllr Luke Spillman said: “I visited Orsett Hospital on several occasions in recent months. I personally experienced the first class treatment and care being provided. It seems frankly ridiculous to close down a service of this quality.

Thurrock Independents will fight at every turn to save Orsett Hospital until a new hospital with A&E facilities is built in Thurrock. We have challenged Labour to join us in this endeavour and prove that they are willing to act, and not just make noise. Thus far we have had no response.

Residents should be amazed to learn that Thurrock Labour didn’t even know the meeting today was taking place. Despite two Labour Councillors being in the last health and well-being board meeting where it was discussed. As we have always suspected, it would seem that there was no plan behind their campaign pledges. They were just empty words to get votes.

“As for the Conservatives, once again they prove they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. This is just another tragic example of the damage the Tories have done to our country and borough over the last eight years. Is this what the people who put their faith in the Tories were voting for?”

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