Well Earned Victory

Mick Hall writing at Organized Rage is pleased that:

Members of the Save Southend A&E campaign group are celebrating a well earned victory.


Jubilant campaigners in Southend are celebrating after the body behind plans to overhaul NHS services in south Essex by cutting services confirmed Southend Hospital will not be downgraded.

Clair Panniker CEO of South Essex Hospitals yesterday officially announced new plans for the future of hospital services after her attempt to close A&E departments at Southend and Broomfield in Chelmsford proved deeply unpopular with local communities.

The Mid and South Essex Hospital Regime planned to create one so called specialist emergency A&E centre at Basildon leaving the remaining two hospitals to treat non-emergency and less serious cases.

All three hospitals are now set to keep their 24/7 blue light A&E departments to cater for serious emergency cases.

Worried residents and doctors feared the overhaul would put lives at risk as ambulances ferried patients on journeys across the county along the often gridlocked A12, A127, and A13.

After listening to residents concerns, and a magnificent campaign by the Save Southend A&E group the regime has now ruled out the blanket redirection of all blue light ambulances to Basildon.

Patients will now be assessed, stabilised and treated at their local hospital with the most unwell patients transferred to a specialist team much as they are today.

As is the case now, a small number of seriously ill patients will go straight to a specialist centre to get the best treatment, for example, people suffering severe burns go to Broomfield.

Members of the Save Southend A&E campaign group are celebrating a well earned victory.

Mike Fieldhouse, secretary of the group, said:

It’s fantastic news that our A&E will not be downgraded. This complete U-turn is exactly what we’ve been fighting for. It’s going to mean that people’s lives are going to be saved ... The aim of our campaign was to highlight and bring to the public’s attention the severe dangers of what Essex Success Regime were proposing to do to the NHS, and I think we’ve succeeded fantastically well in doing that.

Mr Fieldhouse added:

Several consultants at the hospital have come out and said the plans to take 999 emergency ambulances and patients from Southend and Chelmsford to Basildon were madness and the public have been against this all the way too ... It’s been a wonderful victory for the people of Essex today and has shown what we can do when we’re united, as one ... This issue has cut across political boundaries and our campaign has been supported from virtually all sides.

Thurrock residents are still facing the closure of Orsett hospital, a much loved service which if closed would mean patients currently seeing their consultants locally would have to travel to an already overstretched Basildon hospital. It's hoped the success of Save Southend A&E campaign group will motivate a similar group being set up in Thurrock.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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