SOUTHEND Hospital has seen an increase in patients at its casualty department - partly from Basildon patients.

It follows the announcement by health watchdogs that death rates at Basildon are to be investigated by NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.

It also comes after the publication of the inquiry into mistreatment and neglect of patients at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Basildon’s Hospital trust is one of five in the country which will be investigated in light of the findings at Mid-Staffordshire.

It is likely that some patients are choosing Southend in favour of Basildon in light of its recent bad press.

Rupert Wainwright, chief operating officer at Southend, said: “We have seen A&E under more pressure, partly from Canvey Island and Basildon area patients, particularly when Basildon’s own A&E is experiencing a high demand, and we are working closely with the Commissioning Board Local Area Team for Essex to manage this extra demand.”

He said it’s too early to tell if people are choosing it instead of Basildon Hospital for outpatient appointments or surgery when booked through GPs Choose and Book scheme.

Mr Wainwright explained: “It’s too early to tell if patients want to be treated here instead, as patients would need to be referred by their GPs then choose to come to Southend, have outpatient appointments and diagnostics then finally be offered surgery, if appropriate.

“All that can take up to 18 weeks so we will know much more by the summer.”

A Basildon Hospital spokeswoman said: “We are working hard to manage our A&E attendances which are seasonally high like many other NHS Trusts . We have a close working relationship with Southend Hospital.

“Safety of our patients is paramount and we’re working to ensure they receive an excellent standard of safe care.”