A PATIENT has called for an inquiry after he was nearly hit by a falling scaffolding board at Southend Hospital.

Terence Brown was walking through the main entrance when a 20ft-long plank fell from the top of the building and narrowly missed him and an elderly couple.

The board landed two feet in front of a woman in a wheelchair and then it fell across the road, just missing a car.

Mr Brown, 64, of North Road, Westcliff, said: “There is no doubt if the board had hit the lady it would have killed her.

“I stood still in shock. No attention was given to the man with the lady in the wheelchair.

“There were no safety barriers to protect the public from any falling scaffold boards.

“They are pulling their scaffolding down right outside the main entrance to the hospital.

“I thought this was dangerous because people are walking underneath it.

“It should never have been allowed to happen.

“I had to make a statement. I am going to a lawyer to sue for negligence.

“I want an inquiry into it. It came down with a crash. It was scary stuff.”

The scaffolding is up at the hospital while windows are being replaced. John Gilham, the hospital’s chief executive, apologised to patients.

He said: “We very much regret this incident and the distress it may have caused to our patients and visitors in the vicinity, particularly the elderly couple.

“We have been in urgent discussion with our contractors, Connaught, who have halted all its scaffold operations while investigations are carried out.”

The incident has been reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

A spokesman for Connaught said: “We are currently investigating an incident in which a scaffold board fell from height while being removed from our site at Southend Hospital.

“We are awaiting a report from our scaffolding contractor and in the meantime we have suspended work on the site.”