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Weekend clinics at risk ...because far too many islanders use them
A SATURDAY emergency doctor’s surgery on Canvey is facing closure – because health officials say it is too popular and too expensive to run.
The emergency clinic at the Oaklands Surgery, at the Central Canvey Primary Care Centre, in Long Road, was launched in 2009 to great fanfare.
Health officials predicted offering the service to all islanders for five hours every Saturday would save money and ease the pressure on hospital A&E departments at Basildon and Southend.
It has now emerged they want to end the weekend sessions – because too many patients are going there, rather than visiting hospitals or seeing their GPs during the week.
Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Group, which runs the centre, says the Saturday service has “not proved an effective use of NHS resources” and would like to end them.
But Canvey county, borough and town councillor Ray Howard has sworn to fight to keep the sessions going.
He said: “It is outrageous. Why should people be forced to go all the way to Southend, when the provision is already here, especially on weekends, when the roads through there are absolutely gridlocked?
“To take this away would be a great disservice to residents in Castle Point.
“I will not accept this. I will be campaigning big-time to stop this from happening.”
The commissioning group says the Saturday surgery is mainly being used by Oaklands patients, many of whom are not emergency cases.
The threat to the clinic was revealed in a report on Wednesday to an Essex County Council health overview and scrutiny committee meeting.
Mr Howard, who is a member of the committee, said: “This is absolute nonsense. I have had so many constituents complain about it, which is why we cannot lose this Saturday service.”