AN MP has called on NHS bosses to get on with plans to overhaul community healthcare despite opposition from Southend Council and hundreds of campaigners.

James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, took part in a Westminster Hall debate on services at Southend Hospital this morning.

He praised the work of staff at the hospital and Claire Panniker chief executive but he expressed disappointment the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership plans had been referred to the Secretary of State for Health by Southend Council.

He said: "The transformation programme is fascinating and fantastic, at a time where we have more money going in to our three local hospitals. we have more nurses, and we've got more doctors. There still however needs to be more change."

"I was disappointed with the Southend local authority for referring the whole of the transformation programme because I trust clinicians"."

Councillors referred the plans over concerns over the future of Southend Hospital's stroke unit headed by consultant Paul Guyler along with transport, finance and staffing issues.

But during the debate, Mr Duddridge said: "Now we did have issues but they were being dealt with by Paul Guyler, the lead clinician. There still are issues in relation to transport.

"But the idea that the whole transformation programme is wrong is incorrect, and I know that my Honourable Friend the member for Chelmsford is enraged with Southend Council's decision. Due to her belief that lives had been lost in Chelmsford because we had not got on with the capital expenditure and the specialisation across the three hospitals that gives ours families and our constituents better care.

"So lets push back on some of the issues but lets also get on with it and further improve what is a fantastic local hospital."