IT will be a “huge blow” if NHS cuts see plans for a new hospital in Grays scrapped, it has been claimed.

Labour councillor John Kent said he will do all he can to save the project, which has been put on hold after NHS South West Essex announced its intention to make £52million in cuts.

Mr Kent, who is also the ward member for Hogg Lane, where the hospital could be sited, said: “I am deeply concerned at the announcement.

“There is clearly a real need for the new generation community hospital.

“The land needed for the hospital has been put together by the Development Corporation, working in partnership with Thurrock Council and the primary care trust.

“For the scheme not to go ahead would be a huge blow and I am determined to do all I can to rescue the project. I am committed to working with the PCT, the DC and Government to try to find a solution which will allow the project to go ahead.”

NHS South West Essex’s chief executive, Andrew Pike, announced a committee of the trust has from now until December to look at the feasibility of plans for Grays, along with those for larger clinics in Wickford and Laindon.

Speaking about the financial struggle the trust is facing, he said: “The bottom line is the primary care trust has been over-ambitious in the past, and demand for local healthcare had been rising well above regional averages, which has led it to increasingly spending more than it can afford.”

The spending cuts mean more than 90 jobs at the trust will have to go, and community hospitals and health centres in Thurrock, Billericay and Brentwood will be reviewed.

The waiting list for outpatient operations is set to be extended by six weeks to save more cash, and IVF treatments will now be restricted to just people who have previously been treated for cancer.