Health centre plans put on ice

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a purpose built health centre in north Essex have been put on hold for at least another month, it emerged last night.More than six months has now been spent in consulting the public about proposals to merge four GP practices in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea.

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a purpose built health centre in north Essex have been put on hold for at least another month, it emerged last night.

More than six months has now been spent in consulting the public about proposals to merge four GP practices in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea.

The delay in decision-making has left some doctors threatening to leave the area claiming their current working conditions are antiquated.

Some thought a final decision on Tendring Primary Care Trust's (PCT) plans for a single state-of-the-art centre in Kennedy Way, off Valley Road, Great Clacton, would be made at its board meeting yesterday.


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But instead board members referred it back to their executive committee meeting on September 25.

It also emerged last night that while the PCT strongly supports the single site option, it may not necessarily have to be at Kennedy Way, which is opposed by a "sizeable" number of Holland-on-Sea residents.

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Between now and September 25, the PCT will need to address five points raised by Essex County Council's overview and scrutiny committee for health.

They want to know about the viability of upgrading existing premises and the "longevity" of any transport arrangements that will have to be introduced if Kennedy Way gets the green light.

They also want to hear about the PCT's views about the veto from patient watchdogs Community Health Council on the single site option. Instead the watchdogs recommended two sites – one in each village.

The PCT's board is set to call an extraordinary meeting in October when it hopes to make a final decision on the protracted issue.

Kennedy Way is part of a package of public-private health investments in the north Essex area. Last night, Tendring PCT chief executive Paul Unsworth said the preferred private partner could be asked to look again at the Kennedy Way option.

He said: "I propose we engage with our private partners at the earliest opportunity to review the current proposals and work closely with the GPs and their patients to harness the benefits of a large modern health centre, but to maintain the local access for those patients who need it.

"This needs to progress as soon as possible."

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