The five clinical commission groups in mid and south Essex have today (Thursday 30 November) launched a formal public consultation on outline plans for the future of health and care services.
The proposals are a result of detailed work undertaken by clinical teams across health and care organisations to improve the services provided to the 1.2 million people living in mid and south Essex.
The Joint Committee of the CCGs yesterday (Wednesday 29 November) gave approval to begin consultation on proposals which include:
• Making improvements in A&E at all three hospitals with the development of new assessment and treatment centres alongside each A&E. All three A&Es will be led by a consultant, open 24 hours a day and will receive “blue light” ambulances.
• Develop a new specialist stroke centre which would provide the highest dependency and intensive care for people in the first 72 hours following a stroke alongside rapid access to diagnostics and specialist interventions. This would be in addition to the existing stroke care units at all three hospitals which would remain in place.
• Bring together in one place some specialist inpatient care where there is existing expertise and to allow for extended hours, seven day a week consultant and specialist cover for these services. Clinical evidence from elsewhere shows that this would improve care and the chances of a making a good recovery.
• Separate some planned operations from emergency cases. Some complex orthopaedic operations that need a few days hospital stay could be performed in Southend Hospital for people in south Essex and Braintree Community Hospital for people in mid Essex. This would reduce cancelled operations and rates of infection by separating this type of care from emergency care.
• Moving community services closer to where people live. For example in Thurrock the proposals outline how services currently provided at Orsett Hospital could be provided in four new “integrated medical centres” and existing and new facilities across Basildon and Brentwood.
These changes are alongside the collective intention of health and care services to build up GP and community services and extend the range of professionals and services available via GP practices as part of a bold plan to provide increased care for local communities closer to where they live.
Dr Caroline Dollery, GP and chair of Mid Essex CCG, said: “The public consultation is an important next stage in the work we have been doing together to develop and build a health and care system fit for the future for the people of mid and south Essex and provide them with a further opportunity to give us their views to help shape the proposals.
“This is not a final decision to implement any of the changes described, which would only happen after the consultation with our local communities has finished and the feedback independently analysed.”
Dr Celia Skinner, chief medical officer for the three hospitals, said:“These proposals set out our ambition to reorganise services across our hospital sites in Basildon, Chelmsford, Southend and Orsett so that we are working together to deliver the best services we can, using our people and resources as effectively as possible for the greatest benefit.
“This happens already for a number of conditions and local doctors and health professionals have been working over many months on the possibilities of bringing together other highly specialist services and how best to separate emergency surgery from planned operations, to reduce cancellations.
“We welcome the public consultation as it represents the next opportunity to discuss these proposals more formally with local people and stakeholders to further seek their views on the potential changes.”
Full details of the proposals and the ways in which people can get involved and have their say are available at www.nhsmidandsouthessex.co.uk
Feedback from the consultation will then undergo independent review before it is considered by the Joint Committee in the early summer of 2018 along with clinical evidence, financial plans and other details in a final business case.