PATIENTS will be able to see a doctor seven days a week under new plans to fix the GP crisis in Basildon.
NHS bosses released a fiveyear plan after the Echo revealed the borough has just one doctor per 2,035 people – compared to a national average of 1,350.
Under the proposals, put together by Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group, the borough will be divided into five areas and people will be able to use any doctor within that area.
Surgery opening hours will be extended and £18.5million of NHS cash will be ploughed into a fund designed to reduce emergency admissions to hospital, including community nursing services and social care for the elderly.
Tom Abell, chief officer of the group, said: “I think the local NHS needs to be fit for purpose for the future. We need to build a service that has sufficient capacity for the future increase in population.
“We need to ensure the services are purpose built.
“Ultimately, I want us to deliver a better experience for NHS patients, better clinical outcomes, and we are trying to move to a more financially stable position.”
The plans are likely to be rubber- stamped later this summer.
If the NHS does nothing, the group would face a £74million debt in five years with Basildon Council’s plans to build 12,500 new homes between 2015 and 2031 also heaping pressure on the already creaking service.
The group has taken the homes into consideration and plans to build new surgeries and improve existing ones, although it admits it is £12million short of making that idea a reality.
NHS figures also show that to reach the required number of GPs to cope with the population in Essex, 143 extra doctors would need to be recruited.
Bosses admit GPs leaving them to go to London are a headache, while 40 per cent of doctors in Basildon and Brentwood are aged 50 to 64.
In response, the group is proposing to create three extra training facilities in surgeries to train young doctors – with NHS statistics suggesting that doctors are likely to stick around in the locality they are trained.
Some of the money could come from savings the CCG makes by sending fewer people to A&E.