Colchester: Sexual health clinic could move to High Street

A sexual health clinic and community health workers could be based in Colchester town centre

A sexual health clinic and community health workers could be based in Colchester town centre - Credit: EDP, Archant

A sexual health clinic could be opened in Colchester High Street as part of the closure of one of the town’s hospitals.

The Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust (CHUFT) announced earlier this year plans to close the Essex County Hospital on Lexden Road by April 2015.

It is part of an on-going strategy to centralise services from the site to Colchester General Hospital, with other services moving into the community.

Today health chiefs will discuss the latest proposals for moving services away from the Essex County Hospital site during a board of directors meeting.

They include setting up a sexual health clinic on Colchester High Street and occupying the first floor of the Primary Care Centre, above the walk-in centre on Turner Road next to the general hospital.

Nick Chatten, special projects director, said: “We have to work at both the micro and macro level to make it better for clinical teams and patients, and to look at how everything links together. We are working very closely with staff.

“It may be other services currently provided at Essex County Hospitcal could be provided at larger GP practices. There are one or two which could be based in a shared facility such as a library or community centre - such as office space for health workers based in the community but who need somewhere to write up case notes, for example.

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“We are trying not to be hidebound by ‘This is the way we have always done it’.”

An open courtyard in the general hospital could be filled in to create more space, as has happened recently as part of the A&E department expansion.

The trust has applied to the Department of Health (DoH) for funding for both the transfer and capital spending on facilities. Services would not be likely to move until the start of 2015.

CHUFT has listed the Essex County site as surplus to requirements. The site’s future is unknown but under government rules other public bodies will be able to bid for it before it goes on the open market.

Money raised from the sale would be used to repay the DoH loan.

Car parking at Colchester General Hospital is also being reviewed in a bid to deal with existing problems with capacity, and to see how it might cope when increased numbers of services are at the site. Plans for an extra 200 spaces at the front of the hospital are currently being drawn up.