RESIDENTS who were asked to submit questions at a public consultation meeting on NHS changes have received responses.

Q - A few months ago the trusts said there would be no merger. Now there is a proposal to do that. Why should we believe our A&E and stroke units will not eventually go?

A - The three trust boards have supported progressing with a merger of the three hospitals. This is entirely separate to the proposed service changes which are the subject of the current consultation and decided upon by the five clinical commissioning groups.

Regardless of whether the trusts merge, any further service change would be subject to a full public consultation.

Q - If someone who would now have a clot removed in Southend but has to in future go to Basildon, what danger would that present to the patient?

A - The ability to provide a thrombectomy (clot removal) service seven days a week would be a vast improvement on the current provision - which is on a “best endeavours” system in Southend (i.e. it depends on individual doctors happening to be available, so is only available on certain days and if certain individuals are available).

The difference in travel time from Southend to Basildon following initial stabilisation at Southend would not outweigh the advantage of having increased access to this service. Currently when the service is not available patients have to travel to Queens Romford or Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Q - Throughout the consultation there is a huge reliance on pre hospital care and prevention of attendances. As Southend has the second highest vacancy rate for GPs in the UK at present and the second highest number of GPs due to retire within the next five years – why is there such reliance on primary care to prevent hospital admission? What will happen when these results are not delivered?

A - Over the next five years, the whole system in mid and south Essex is working to a plan that transforms the way patients receive health and care services. Our focus is very much on supporting population health. This starts from before birth, supporting people (children and adults) to live healthy lives, and arming people with the tools to look after their health.

We are also working to enhance the care patients receive locally, supporting GPs, community, mental health and social care services to work more closely together. Over time we expect this to reduce demand on hospital services so that we can continue to meet demand within expected population growth.

A full list of questions and answers can be found at