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Healthcare on mainland Castle Point at breaking point
HEALTH facilities on mainland Castle Point would be unable to cope with over 500 new homes.
Shocking figures, obtained by the Echo from the South East Essex PCT, reveal GP services in the borough are already at breaking point before Castle Point Council earmarked sites for 559 new homes to be built in the next five years.
Five out of seven doctors surgeries in the area are oversubscribed, by in some cases as many as 2,600 patients.
Three of the surgeries are operating at over one and half times the recommended patient doctor ratio from the NHS of 1,800 patients per doctor.
This comes after an investigation confirmed health facilities and education services on Canvey would be unable to cope with two proposed developments at Point Road and Thorney Bay Caravan Park totalling 700 homes.
Michael Hennessy, 71, of Oak Field Road, Benfleet said: “My wife and mother-in-law often have problems getting an appointment at the moment, sometimes having to wait days to be seen.
“It does really concern me because another 500 homes on the mainland would have a tremendous affect on our infrastructure. That’s at least 500 to 1000 people and who is going to take all these additional patients if they’re already oversubscribed?”
Castle Point Council has decided to build 1,200 new homes in the borough by 2018.
The authority has so far earmarked 1,008 of these as part of its preparations for a new development blueprint, with 559 in Benfleet, Thundersley and Hadleigh, and the remaining 449 on Canvey.
Essex County Council confirmed primary schools and secondary schools on the mainland would be able to cope as the majority of them are currently undersubscribed.
However, concerns have been raised the road network would also buckle under the pressure as Essex Way, High Road, London Road, Kiln Road, Rayleigh Road and Sadlers Farm already see high levels of congestion.
Mr Hennessy added: “Sometimes the traffic is so bad you can hardly move. During the school run and rush hour it is a nightmare.
“But it’s not just that, we’ve also seen south Benfleet police station closed, so officers now have to come from Canvey and Basildon. I think everyone in Castle Point wants a quiet life, but it seems that’s just not going to happen.”
A spokesman from the South Essex PCT said: “We always work closely with local authorities to ensure that local NHS healthcare provision is sufficient in the event of new planned developments.
“Local planning authorities determine the acceptability of any local infrastructure to support new housing developments and will request contributions from developers towards the local support infrastructure. These contributions must include healthcare, education, police and any other relevant local public sector and voluntary services.”