THURROCK Council has welcomed a ruling from a government Health Independent Reconfiguration Panel that supports plans to replace Orsett Hospital with four modern community health facilities.
Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, has written to the council to say that, on the advice of the panel, he has rejected objections to the scheme to close Orsett Hospital and provide the services it offers at four new integrated medical centres in Thurrock.
Cllr James Halden, Cabinet Member for Health said: “This is an amazing opportunity to invest large sums of money to unite primary, hospital and mental health care in the most modern facilities.
“I have read the opinion of the expert panel and am pleased to see that at every step of the way the medical experts have agreed that modern services, closer to where people live, bringing these different parts of the health system together, is the best thing for local people.
“What is important to us now is making sure our communities benefit from this change and that the commitments contained within the Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the council and all local NHS organisations about how services will be delivered, are honoured.
“That means that we need to make rapid progress on delivery of the new facilities before Orsett changes, that we work with all partners and local people regarding re-location of services within Thurrock, and ensuring that the disposal of the Orsett site yields the best possible re-investment into our local health estate.
“I have arranged a meeting with officials from the NHS. Clearly, decisions about Thurrock should be made with Thurrock – that is what this plan represents and that is the co-operation we want to continue with.”