AN innovative health service which helped people settle back into home life after hospital operations has been stopped.

The Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has decided not to extend its successful six-month partnership with Hilton Nursing Partners.

The service specialised in caring for people in their own homes after they had been discharged from hospital.

The pilot scheme was carried out by the firm based in Ashford, Kent, which cares for people there and in parts of Essex. The move means 17 nurses and assistants in Southend will be placed elsewhere.

The service was being rolled out to help ease the amount of time patients had to spend in hospitals following surgery, in a bid to free up more beds in less time.

Atholl Craignmyle, finance director for Hilton Nursing Partners, hoped a new deal may be brokered in the future. He said: “We have welcomed the opportunity to pilot our innovative hospital discharge and residential care avoidance services over the past six months as part of a number of different ways the local commissioners are testing to help reduce the length of stay at the hospital.

“We very much hope the opportunity arises in the future to offer this service in Southend on a long-term basis.

“We would like to thank our staff for the outstanding commitment and dedication they have shown.”

A source close to the scheme informed the Echo that the news had come as a shock to staff.

Hilton Nursing Partners was rated “outstanding” in its latest CQC report published in February 2018, which highlighted staff ensured all patients had a freedom of choice in how their day-to-day care was handled.

A spokesman for Southend CCG said: “The arrangement with Hilton Nursing Partners was made as part of a pilot project. Our priority will be working with any families affected and ensuring they continue to access safe, high quality services.”