By Local Democracy Reporter
ALL medical centres replacing Orsett Hospital are expected to be operational by the end 2021, according to a report released ahead of a Thurrock Council meeting.
Details of the new Integrated Medical Centres (IMCs) have been outlined in a report which has been prepared for the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The first centre to open will cover Stanford and Corringham and be located in Stanford Le Hope. Planning consent was secured for this facility in 2016 and it is expected to be funded by the North East London NHS Foundation Trust.
With a construction period of 15 months, the Stanford IMC could be operational as early as 2020.
The Tilbury IMC will serve the local area along with Chadwell. The council is expected to agree to fund the construction of this centre at a meeting on September 12 at a cost of £20million and the building work will be completed by the end of 2021.
A Purfleet and South Ockendon IMC will be built as part of the wider Purfleet Centre regeneration scheme. Outline planning permission was submitted in December 2017 and is likely to go before the planning committee in the third quarter of the year.
A funding strategy is still not finalised but it is hoped that the centre will open sometime in 2021.
The Thurrock Community Hospital will be transformed into the fourth IMC and serve Grays. The report states: “As the only site already built, Thurrock Community Hospital offers the opportunity to renovate and redesign facilities to accommodate services, with the potential to bring services on line in a shorter time frame.”
The Grays IMC could also see the introduction of a new GP service.
Further healthcare improvements will take place in a second phase of the project with plans to improve the South Ockendon Health Centre, which is currently occupied by a GP practice and several clinical services, are due to be presented to the council in December.
The report adds: “Health partners have confirmed the building is no longer fit for purpose, and they see potential benefits in redeveloping the site to create a new health centre which could bring together other surgeries from the local area, and to equip it with a fuller range of primary care facilities.”
The closure of Orsett is part of a much larger healthcare shakeup taking place across the whole of mid and south Essex. The Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) responsible for the implementation have been facing criticism from councillors, residents and campaigners over their decisions.
At a recent STP scrutiny committee held in Thurrock, chief transformation officer Tom Abell said none of the services will leave Orsett Hospital until all the medical centres are open but then admitted some services may move early.
When he was questioned further by councillors he said he didn’t want “principal to get in the way of what is best for patients.”
The STP was also slammed for their consultation process which was labelled as the “worst consultation ever” by Independent Southend Councillor Martin Terry.