Councillors seek reassurance over plans for health care changes

Published Friday, 28th June 2019

Stethoscope with enamel heart

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has issued a response to a letter suggesting that parts of a plan to change health care in the area will be implemented ahead of a decision by the Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State has asked the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to give initial advice on these changes and until their response is received, the Mid and South Essex (MSE) Hospitals Group has expressed their intention to start work mobilising first phase changes. This would mean vascular, urology, radiology and orthopaedic services would be prepared for changes to be implemented in September 2019 in anticipation of the panel’s advice.

An informal private meeting to request reassurance has been arranged between Clare Panniker, chief executive of MSE Hospitals Group and key councillors, including Cllr Lesley Salter, who requested the meeting as chair of the health overview scrutiny committee, plus councillors Cheryl Nevin, Beth Hooper, Anne Chalk, Ian Gilbert and Anne Jones.

Cllr Salter explained: “I would like to use the meeting to discuss and clarify the extent to which the MSE Hospitals Group in the preparation and planning, will be committed to pursue these proposals; if there are resources and staffing implications should you not get the go-ahead to proceed; and reassurance that nothing will happen until the Secretary of State has issued his decision.”

The new administration have also set out their position.

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “It is vital that we seek assurances that the MSE Hospitals Group are not going against the process and referral made to the secretary of state, so I am pleased a meeting has been arranged.

“The administration will do everything within its power to ensure the right process is followed and we are prepared to take legal steps if necessary.”