Agenda item

Integrated Medical Centres Update


The following presentations were delivered to members:


(Public Pack)Item 8 - IMC Presentation Agenda Supplement for Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee, 03/11/2022 19:00 (


Councillor Ralph agreed although the opening of the Corringham Integrated Medical Centre today would be a fantastic facility which had a friendly and pleasant atmosphere he questioned that the whole project was not now affordable. Tiffany Hemming stated that this was a question which had been put to NHS England around whether enough money could be obtained to pay for the project but agreed at this time it was not looking great in terms of having enough money to pay for all the sites, particularly the funding gap for Grays Integrated Medical Centre. That work was being undertaken, as a solution needed to be found before the closure of Orsett Hospital, this would require their governance to come together through the system finance leaders’ group to work out how this would be funded, where the funding would come from and how it would be prioritised over other items that were needed from the system. Tiffany Hemming reiterated at this present time; money was the biggest risk.


Councillor Ralph referred to the reassurances that himself and the committee had received over the last three years that the project was moving full steam ahead but to now be told of all the project constraints and with the proposed closure date of Orsett Hospital closing being 2025. Councillor Ralph questioned whether there would be a point in time the NHS would agree that Orsett Hospital should remain open. Councillor Ralph stated he had serious concerns on this project, the whole program. That the Corringham Integrated Medical Centre had been a great opportunity to see how the program worked and should have been seen as a flag-ship example for other authorities to follow. With NHS England making the decision to close Orsett Hospital and having proposed these fantastic new sites for integrated care, Councillor Ralph could not see where the project was heading and what the answer would be.


Councillor Pothecary echoed the chairs comments and was utterly unconvinced with the current plans. That the centre currently opened happened to be location in the area of Thurrock that was at least in need of extra primary care, in an area that suffered from fewer health inequalities and also the closest located to Basildon hospital. There was now a question over whether other communities, the proposed sites, would get the required level of service with too many funding gaps. Councillor Pothecary questioned whether a guarantee could be given that there would be a parity of service between what was current in Corringham and the other three sites. Tiffany Hemmings stated that Corringham Integrated Medical Centre was the first site to be completed because this program was already in progress with NELFT. The sites would not provide more or improve the primary care services, the sites would provide a better environment for the current primary care services to move into. Confirming as part of the presentation that the focus would be moved away from the buildings to making sure we had integrated care services across the whole of Thurrock. This would ensure that the services delivered are enhanced to every patient in Thurrock regardless of there being a building in place, this would mean a better service, better integrated for the patient rather than starting with a pathway which was the traditional way that NHS looked at this.


Councillor Pothecary referred to the proposed drift away from initial plans and the considerable gaps of funding, questioned where residents would have to go for their care. Tiffany Hemmings stated that the majority of services at three of the four sites would not have the services currently at Orsett Hospital, with the vast majority of services currently being planned to be relocated to the Grays site. To which Councillor Pothecary reiterated where there was the massive funding gap and whether there would be a funding to repurpose the buildings on that site to fit in all the services.


Councillor Piccolo stated the current state of play was atrocious, the plan was for four integrated medical centres following the closure of Orsett Hospital, it now appeared there will only be one and the other three would be disjointed and stated this was appalling for all Thurrock residents.


Councillor Polley stated this was a moveable feast, the rationale behind closing Orsett Hospital was that it was not fit for purpose but were now looking to extending the closure date. Councillor Polley had concerns on whether residents and health care staff who used the building may be harmful to them or whether the first assessment that stated the building was not fit for purpose had been incorrect. Councillor Polley questioned if the building was not fit for purpose how this can be continually extended. The constant message presented to this committee was the closure of Orsett Hospital and stated that the committee, cross-party, had repeatedly supported that this was the wrong way to be looking at this, when the services had been delivered was the time to close the hospital. Councillor Polley referred to the growth agenda in Thurrock and stated her concern that health care cannot be provided to residents of Thurrock now and questioned where the figure of £6 million had come from in regard to the valuation for Orsett Hospital site. Councillor Polley concluded that the project was not affordable, not deliverable and questioned whether this should go back to the drawing board.


Councillor Polley referred to the Purfleet Integrated Medical Centre and asked for definition on what was meant by “acute services” to which she was informed the acute services were generally outpatient appointments provided by the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and that was how the NHS trust described services currently at Orsett hospital as outpatient appointments.  


Councillor Fish questioned whether the plan was now to keep Orsett Hospital open to which Tiffany Hemmings stated no, this was not the current plan, the backlog maintenance costs were potentially more than the rebuilding cost to rebuild somewhere else.


Councillor Sammons questioned regardless of the Integrated Medical Centres being completed that Orsett Hospital would still close to which Tiffany Hemmings stated the plan was that Orsett Hospital cannot close until the services had been safely relocated to appropriate locations in Thurrock. Councillor Sammons questioned where these sites would be to which Tiffany Hemmings stated the current plan was for the IMWCs, if that proved to be completely unaffordable as the process had gone through with NHS England a report would need to come back to this committee to find an alternative way of delivering those services but reiterated, they were still waiting for NHS England to come back to them with an answer. Councillor Sammons stated that in the meantime, residents of Thurrock would suffer to which she was informed that services would still be delivered, to the same standard, as required by the NHS in Thurrock and reiterated again there was no plans to close Orsett Hospital until services had been safely relocated to elsewhere in Thurrock.


Councillor Ralph thanked the committee for their valid input, and all agreed that some serious questions needed to be asked in particular to the £6 million gap on the site valuation. Tiffany Hemmings stated this valuation related to some particular circumstances of the hospital on the site which would reduce the overall value because of the issues with removing the current building which would be extremely expensive.


Councillor Ralph stated he could not see the answer to these issues, if Orsett Hospital was to close but the Integrated Medical Centres were not going to be built where would these services be located. Serious questions need to be answered, involve local MPs and come up with a solution. That the medical care of Thurrock residents was being played with and all that was being presented was problems after problems.


Councillor Polley stated the members here this evening were passionate about health in their communities and it was their job to challenge and scrutiny such reports and asked whether as a committee there was anything that they could do to help assist, to which Tiffany Hemmings stated she was in the process of arranging a meeting with Councillor Arnold to look at what could be done to potentially move this forward.  

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