New health centre poll rejected
By Annie DavidsonA CALL has been made for a referendum over a controversial plan for a new health centre on an industrial site.Residents have objected to Tendring Primary Care Trust's decision to close four outdated doctor's surgeries and replace them with a new multi-million-pound centre.
By Annie Davidson
A CALL has been made for a referendum over a controversial plan for a new health centre on an industrial site.
Residents have objected to Tendring Primary Care Trust's decision to close four outdated doctor's surgeries and replace them with a new multi-million-pound centre.
Under the proposal, the surgeries in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea would be based in Kennedy Way in Clacton, which would also house the trust's headquarters.
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But ears have been voiced about access and transport for many elderly patients who would use the new centre.
One application for the health centre has already been turned down by Tendring District Council, but the trust is planning to resubmit it.
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Tendring district councillor, Roy Smith, said he had written to the primary care trust's chief executive, Paul Unsworth, calling for a referendum to be held on the plan.
In the letter, Mr Smith said the decision should be “up to the patients of the four GP practices to decide on the way they require their health care to be delivered”.
He added: “I support this as the best way forward as the primary care trust must not be seen to be steamrolling decisions over such a very important service for community care.”
Mr Smith said residents needed to be given the choice on delivery of health and community care.
But his call has been rejected by the primary care trust. Mr Unsworth said: “Certainly, we won't be undertaking a referendum, that is not the way the health service is run.
“We have got two public scrutiny bodies who oversee health care decision that we make - the health overview and scrutiny committee on Essex County Council and the Tendring patient and public involvement forum.
“We have consulted on this and in terms of looking at our options and developing our options we have to consider the working conditions for the doctors and nurses and development in modern healthcare.
“There has been a whole host of issues which have been covered. By developing the centre we will save 10,500 patient journeys to Colchester every year.”
He added: “We have addressed the transport issues as we will have a shuttle bus to the centre so no-one will have difficulty accessing the services.
“The NHS is the biggest employer in Europe and by providing the facility in Tendring there will be more jobs in Tendring.
“All in all, this has been considered in great detail and we believe the best thing is to apply again for planning permission for Kennedy Way.”
Mr Unsworth said residents, campaigners and councillors had all been involved in the consultation.