AN MP has received commitment from the Secretary of State for Health that £118million funding to improve Southend Hospital is secure. 

Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, questioned the Health Secretary Steve Barclay on the recent CQC Report which declared medical services at the Mid and South Essex NHS Trust was “inadequate”.

She used the opportunity to also press the Health Secretary on the issue of the £118million for capital improvements and hospital upgrades, approved by the Treasury in March 2021, but yet to arrive in south Essex. 

Ms Firth says the Secretary of State confirmed the total multi-million pound funding is secure, but the department is still awaiting updated plans from the trust to release the remaining £110million.

The trust did not give specifics when the Echo asked about the funding and the plan. 

After seeing the “shocking” CQC report, Ms Firth visited Southend Hospital the following day where she spoke with some of the senior leadership team and staff.

She also visited the Chalkwell Ward, which was criticised in the CQC Report, to see what improvements had been made.

The improvements included a new meal regime, improvements to recruitment and retention, and a new system so all staff on wards can “identify which patients lack capacity so that these patients can be better supported”.

Ms Firth said: ‘I was shocked and disappointed by the CQC Report’s findings that our local health services have slipped still further. 

"I immediately picked up the phone to senior leaders and arranged to visit Southend Hospital the following day as well as organising an urgent summit with the Health Secretary.

“At this summit I was delighted to receive the Secretary of State’s assurance that the much needed £118million of investment to improve south Essex hospitals remains secure.

“This money will go to make much needed improvements to all three of our local hospitals, but the lion-share of the money will come to Southend, enabling local residents to have the health service they deserve.

“What needs to happen now is for the trust to put together proper plans for how this money will be spent, so that the money can finally be released, and improvements can be made as quickly as possible.”

In response to this, Andrew Pike, chief operating officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Trust, said: “We are pleased that Anna Firth MP has recognised the improvements that have been made and the incredible hard work of our staff to ensure patients receive the best possible care.

“Her visit meant she was able to speak to staff involved and see first-hand how changes we have made are already making a real difference."

It is believed the Trust is in conversation with the Department for Health and Social Care to develop the full business case for the funding.