Talks on surgery transport problems

By James HoreHEALTH bosses are to meet to tackle the transport problems facing patients who will use a proposed new medical centre. Tendring Primary Care Trust wants to build a state-of-the-art health centre on industrial land in Kennedy Way, Clacton.

By James Hore

HEALTH bosses are to meet to tackle the transport problems facing patients who will use a proposed new medical centre.

Tendring Primary Care Trust wants to build a state-of-the-art health centre on industrial land in Kennedy Way, Clacton.

The new centre would replace four surgeries in Great Clacton and Holland-on-Sea, but has led to concern about its accessibility for some patients.

Tendring District Council has already refused planning permission for the centre, saying the site was "in the wrong place".

However, the primary care trust is considering appealing or submitting another application for the same site and bosses will meet on Thursday to discuss the options that patients will have for getting to and from the centre.

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It is proposed that Essex County Council and operator First could "reorganise" the existing timetable to provide bus services every 30 minutes linking Holland-on-Sea, Great Clacton and the Kennedy Way centre.

The service would run from Monday to Friday between 8am and 8pm. Other options include:

n a dedicated service, which would not link in with the existing services or bus stopsn

n a minibus operating between Holland-on-Sea, the Cann Hall Estate and the centre.

n a limited community transport service for people needing assistance, such as those in wheelchairs.

The trust is also exploring whether Essex Ambulance Service could be used to provide non-urgent patient transport.

After the planning application for the health centre was rejected due to the council's concerns about transport, GPs warned the arguments were putting funding for the project in jeopardy.

Tendring Primary Care Trust chief executive Paul Unsworth also warned there was a danger GPs would leave if the surgery was not built.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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