16 Feb Jeremy Hunt visits Thurrock to hear about plans new Integrated Medical Centres
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt visited Tilbury this week to hear about the partnership between Thurrock Council and the NHS to deliver new health medical centres across Thurrock and see the site of the Tilbury Integrated Medical Centres opening in 2020.
The Secretary of State was accompanied by Thurrock MP and fellow Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price and met with James Halden the Cabinet member for Health, Tom Abell from Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals NHS foundation trust and Mandy Ansell, head of Thurrock CCG.
Jeremy Hunt heard how the local council and the NHS organisations were working together to deliver a shared ambition of better local health services. Thurrock has historically found it challenging to recruit and retain GPs. By providing brand new state of the art facilities It will become easier to attract medical staff to work in Thurrock. And better GP services will reduce demand for hospital services. The new medical centres will also provide the opportunity for the relocation of services provided at Orsett hospital, so that people can be treated closer to their own homes. The Secretary of State also heard about how the Local GP services had improved following inspections and challenge.
Speaking after the visit, Jackie Doyle-Price said, “when I became the Member of Parliament for Thurrock, seven years ago, the quality of our local health services were simply not good enough. Basildon hospital was poorly led and performing poorly. Services were being cut due to overspending by the local PCT and our local Health services were not all they could be. Today we have a Basildon hospital that has been through special measures and massively improved its performance. We have a well led CCG which is which is working with GPs to drive up performance and provision of local services. I promised at the last two elections that improving local health services was my key priority and I am delighted that Thurrock Council; Basildon Hospital and the Thurrock CCG have stepped up to the challenge and are delivering these new health centres across Thurrock. I know some people are nervous about the closure of Orsett hospital. To reassure them the proposed closure is well supported by the NHS and if doctors and medical staff believe this is the best way to go, then who are politicians to argue. The responsible thing for politicians to do is to support our NHS leaders who know better than us about what is best for patients. It is disappointing that some have chosen to highlight the proposed closure as a means of stoking fear. I Will work with the NHS to deliver the best possible health services for the people of Thurrock and I am pleased that Thurrock Council is doing the same. The strength of this partnership will ensure that we deliver.”