By Local Democracy Reporter
THE four medical centres that residents were told would replace Orsett Hospital are in jeopardy because of “affordability issues”, a report has revealed.
Residents were promised that the Integrated Medical Centres (IMCs) planned for Corringham, Grays, Tilbury and Purfleet would mean no services would be lost as a result of the hospital closure.
But a new report from Thurrock’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) indicates the plans may not be as well thought out as previously suggested.
It reads: “Until all stakeholders have agreed on what services they wish to deliver from each IMC and how much space they will require to do so it is very difficult to progress the programme any further.”
The report goes on to outline how one of the biggest problems for the development of the IMCs is the Tilbury site, which is being funded and developed by Thurrock Council.
Setbacks at the site are due to outstanding decisions on which services will be delivered and questions over finances which mean that the building could be “scaled down”.
The plans for a medical centre in Purfleet are in similar position with no agreements on the size of the site, the services that will be delivered and “whether or not it will be affordable”.
When Thurrock CCG was asked if they could still guarantee that services will remain in Thurrock and if these issues could have been foreseen, accountable officer Mandy Ansell failed to address the queries directly.
She said: “We are confident that replacing the outdated site at Orsett with four new medical centres will enable us to provide the best possible care for our local communities right across Thurrock and we are continuing to assess and make plans with all our partners to ensure that these centres will be fit for purpose.
“It’s important to note the Integrated Medical Centres were already planned as part of our wider transformation plans, For Thurrock in Thurrock. This is a brand-new offer for Thurrock, we are working closely with all the agencies that will run services in these centres and we have to get it right.”
The closure of Orsett Hospital and construction of the IMCs is one of a number of major changes to the healthcare across mid and south Essex within plans from the NHS’ Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).
In October Southend Councillors voted to refer the whole plan to health secretary Matt Hancock, which has delayed the release of £118million in funding and prevented plans from moving forward while they are scrutinised.