By Local Democracy Reporter
MAJOR new healthcare facilities could be built in South Ockendon as part of a wider strategy for developing the town centre.
The council is considering a new health centre on Diaglen Drive, which would be the fifth “integrated medical centre” planned for Thurrock, with the other four being built as a replacement for Orsett Hospital.
It would replace the existing South Ockendon Health Centre which the NHS has called “no longer fit for purpose”. A council report says the new site would “bring together other surgeries from the local area and be equipped with a fuller range of primary care and associated facilities”.
When council leaders meet on January 16 they will decide whether negotiations with the NHS should progress and a business plan developed.
The council also hopes to build a new care home next to the medical centre. It would be made up of 45 homes and 30 en-suite bedrooms, as well as facilities such as a restaurant, lounges and treatment rooms.
It aims to address a growing demand for care home beds. Thurrock’s Public Health team predicts that by 2035 the number of over-65s living in the borough will increase from 4,201 to 6,801. The largest increase is expected among the over-85s, with the population set to increase by 95 percent.
The report says: “There is already increasing demand for residential care in Thurrock which is difficult to meet with the current range of beds available locally. This is evidenced by a snapshot of available care home beds in homes in the borough for the week of October 17, 2018 which shows that across the whole Borough only one nursing care home bed, two dementia care homes beds and no other residential care beds were available.”
Plans from architect Pollard Thomas Edwards say the new development would have the potential to provide improved medical facilities, including GP facilities. It adds that the facility could have “the potential to be a catalyst for the regeneration of the town centre”.