An editorial from the Leigh Times, which is important enough to print in full:
WE HOPE that those who are currently deciding how our medical care services should be reorganised under the Mid and South Essex Success Regime will have read the news story in a national newspaper last week.
We quote: ‘A boy aged eight died after paramedics had to take him to a hospital, a 23-minute ride away rather than two miles to his local A&E.
‘Callum Cartlidge was found unresponsive on a sofa 15 hours after he was sent home from hospital with what doctors said was a tummy bug.
‘As ambulance crews battled to revive him, they asked if they could take him to Alexandra Hospital in Redditch near his family home,’
The response was they couldn’t because acute services for children had been axed last September.
Instead he was taken 18 miles to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
This could easily be replicated here in Southend if a decision is made to downgrade Southend Hospital’s A&E department and upgrade Basildon’s A&E to take serious cases in this part of Essex.
This is exactly what medical staff at Southend Hospital are concerned about.
Someone falling seriously ill in the borough could face the ordeal of a 15-20 minute journey along the busy A127 to Basildon – it could be longer if there was a traffic hold-up – before they get the essential treatment they need.
We don’t yet know for certain whether Southend A&E is to be downgraded. All we have been given literally is nods and winks.
The Mid and South Essex Success Regime were supposed to have published their proposals by now, but they have been delayed.
Their latest pronouncement, published on March 1 says: ““This is our opportunity to put services in mid and south Essex at the leading edge of health and social care. This is the chance for clinicians and staff to do what they believe in and have the potential to achieve – safer, more effective, more compassionate care for patients.
“If we don’t change, the current estimated deficit across mid and south Essex could rise to £216 million by 2018/19; and we would not be able to meet year on year growing demands.”
Very lofty targets – and it added that from now until September there will be opportunities for staff, clinicians and local people to get involved in developing options for consultation. Consultation on options for proposed changes is likely in the autumn.
We still have to wait until the autumn to have our say.
We hope by then that residents will be fully briefed to be able to make their views known.