Apology to Friends of Braintree Community Hospital as leader vow to better utilise facilities

Braintree Community Hospital. Picture: COLIN HOTSTON

Braintree Community Hospital. Picture: COLIN HOTSTON - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

An NHS boss has vowed to make better use of Braintree Community Hospital as demand for health services in mid-Essex grows.

The Friends of Braintree Community Hospital's annual general meeting. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL

The Friends of Braintree Community Hospital's annual general meeting. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: GEMMA MITCHELL

Peter Fry, chief operating officer from the trust that runs the Chadwick Drive site, spoke at the annual general meeting of the hospital’s Friends group on Tuesday.

He said: “We are not utilising the great facilities of Braintree Community Hospital as much as we should be.”

Mr Fry said this was partly down to teething problems implementing a new electronic patient database called Lorenzo.

Friends groups chairman Professor Chris Green said Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust had “taken its eye off” Braintree Community Hospital because of other major developments in the area, including the proposed merger of Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals.

From left, chairman of the Friends of Braintree Community Hospital Professor Chris Green; Dr Carolin

From left, chairman of the Friends of Braintree Community Hospital Professor Chris Green; Dr Caroline Dollery, chairwoman of the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group; and Peter Fry, chief operating officer at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust. Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL - Credit: GEMMA MITCHELL

Prof Green said the group had consistently raised concerns about a lack of leadership at the hospital since the operational manager left last year.

Mr Fry assured a new boss had been appointed.

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Braintree Community Hospital will start offering orthopaedic surgery from June.

This will mean the hospital will scrap its inpatient rehabilitation service on Courtauld ward, run by Provide.

Prof Green said the proposal to change the use of the ward had not been handled smoothly and had seen some staff leaving.

Explaining the motivation behind the decision, Mr Fry said Broomfield Hospital had to stop orthopaedic operations in November due to a lack of capacity, impacting 500 patients.

He added: “These are our patients and we need to do better and I see this as an opportunity to do that.”

Under the plans, recovering patients who would have previously been admitted to the Courtauld ward may be offered support in their own homes under a scheme called Home First.

The service will be available to around 20 patients in the first instance.

Mr Fry apologised for previous shortcomings and poor communication with the Friends.

He added: “I have to be humble and give you that apology and it’s coming from the heart. I want to progress and make things right.”

The hospital also runs ophthalmology services and Mr Fry said the trust was looking to expand this by appointing two new glaucoma consultants.

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