By Local Democracy Reporter
ORSETT Hospital will close within the next five years to coincide with the opening of four new medical centres across Thurrock.
New details of the closure have been confirmed by Labour Councillor Victoria Holloway, who chairs the council’s health overview and scrutiny committee.
The closure of Orsett Hospital is part of a wide-ranging overhaul of health services across mid and south Essex. Plans show that all services delivered at the hospital will be transferred to four new health centres called Integrated Medical Centres (IMCs).
Those centres will be located in Corringham, Purfleet, Grays and Tilbury. Most will be at new sites but the IMC in Grays will become part of the existing Thurrock Community Hospital.
“The hospital will close within five years which fits with the promises from the health authorities that it won’t close until after before all the new health hubs are up and running,” said Ms Holloway.
“The Corringham centre is further ahead than the others and they are hoping to begin work this summer, possibly around August, with the aim of having it be complete sometime in 2022.
“This is one of the easiest sites for them to develop as it is an empty space and planning permission has been granted.
“The IMC in Purfleet ties into the regeneration of the area which is moving ahead but details still need to be sorted and then it will need planning permission so this will be around mid-2023, it is the same for Tilbury.
“The site in Grays will be more complicated because of the complexities of integrating the IMC onto that site. We have no exact date because of that.”
While the IMCs are designed to take pressure off of GP surgeries by allowing patients more direct access to care rather than always going through a local doctor, Ms Holloway admitted the incoming Local Plan which could bring up to 32,000 new homes to the town is a concern.
“It is a worry,” she continued.
“As a committee we always say we need to think about population growth. I think we will need to grow past just these medical centres as it is an enormous number of houses and people so these can’t be the end.”