Thurrock Council health bosses consider taking Orsett hospital plans to minister

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By Local Democracy Reporter
Steve Shaw

THURROCK Council could join Southend in calling for a plan to overhaul health care in mid and south Essex to be scrutinised by the health secretary.

Plans to transform health care across Essex were announced by the NHS in July but they have faced widespread opposition from councillors and residents.

In Southend councillors insisted the plans are poorly thought out and could cause patients to suffer. They agreed in October to refer the whole plan to health secretary Matt Hancock.

Thurrock may follow in their footsteps after Labour councillor Victoria Holloway, who chairs the Health Overview and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, called on committee members to back a referral by Thurrock Council.

She said: “As many are aware Southend has already referred this to the secretary of state and I am asking the committee to agree that we should make a similar referral.

“There have been a number of issues raised with regards to the consultation process and residents have continued to raise with us that they are unhappy with that. Residents are also still uncertain about the closure of Orsett hospital.”

The proposal was unanimously supported by all members of the scrutiny committee on Thursday night and means that council officers will now put together a report before the details are discussed at a future meeting.

Councillors will need to decide whether they will refer certain aspects of the plan to the health secretary or the entire plan.

Southend made the decision to refer the entire plan but concerns were raised over this decision because they will not be able to raise any further complaints with the Government if their objection is rejected.

Since the Southend’s referral £118million in funding which was allocated for the change has been put on hold.

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