CAMPAIGNERS have chalked up a victory over plans to downgrade Southend A&E.

The Save Southend A&E campaign group has fought plans to turn Basildon A&E into a specialist emergency centre while downgrading Southend and Broomfield A&Es to take less serious cases. Reliable sources said the plans were widely expected be be kicked out today and Southend will continue to offer a 24/7 blue light service.

On its Facebook page the group said: “If rumours are indeed true, this week could deliver the news that our #SaveSouthend campaign has successfully made enough noise to halt proposals which may have led to 999 emergency ambulances not being allowed admission to Southend A&E - in favour of dangerous and prolonged transfers direct to Basildon.

"We are sure you will see numerous press releases claiming that it was never on the cards, but you all know the real truths from the spin by now (thankfully!)."

Norman Traub, former haematology consultant at Southend Hospital and a member of the Save Southend A&E campaign group said only a full climb down would satisfy campaigners: “This is a Government that is basically unwilling to fund the NHS properly because all their policies are based on austerity that George Osborne initiated. They are guided by that. It would not be satisfactory if it was a partial victory. It’s not sufficient and we would not be happy with this.

“Pressure from the Echo, doctors and from ourselves has meant they can’t go on.

“They have to make a U-turn but it is as small as possible and they will hope people will be satisfied but they will carry on.

“They will say “look we made this turn – take it or leave it”. We are not happy about it.

“It’s not just about A&E. Its about them providing enough beds and nurses.”

Mr Traub said the Mid and South Essex Success regime plans were far reaching.

He said: “Other plans include moving the paediatric unit to Broomfield. Parents won’t have a proper facility here in Southend for children to be treated in an emergency.

“Southend is a big town and we need a proper hospital not cuts to vital services.

“What will they do about having no beds, no nurses and no paediatric unit.

“If in a few year’s time the deficit gets any bigger, the NHS will tell hospitals to make more cuts and they will do it.”

Mike Fieldhouse, Labour spokesman for Prittlewell Ward and a member of Save Southend A&E said: “We are still concerned about other aspects of the STP. We believe the STP to be hastily put together and ill conceived.

“Things are being proposed like making the population healthier but they are cutting wards now. It takes time to make people healthier by eating better and exercise. t’s putting the cart before the horse.

“I can’t see our campaign ending soon. The Government wants to cut the budget by £22billion in the next two to three year - £450million of that in the Mid and South Essex Success Regime area. That’s an awful lot of money for patient care not to be affected in any way.”

Sir David Amess recently announced he believed there would be no downgrading of Southend A&E.

The success regime was unable to respond to the Echo in time before it went to press