LEADING clinicians have assured anyone concerned at proposed healthcare changes that no local A&E units in Mid and South Essex will be closed.
The message came in response to increasing speculation in the national media about the future of A&E departments across the country.
Dr Ronan Fenton, joint medical director for the Success Regime and speaking on behalf of Mid Essex Hospital Trust, Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Trust and Southend University Hospital Trust, said: “Under the proposals the clinical teams have developed, there would continue to be an A&E in all three hospitals for the majority of patients in mid and south Essex.
“These are not just simple minor injuries units but have the back up of a frailty unit, a children’s unit and a surgical assessment unit, to manage and care for the majority of health issues that people come to A&E for.
“However for the most serious and life-threatening cases, national evidence tells us that we could save more lives with a specialist emergency hospital. We already see this with the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon. For example, anyone suffering an acute heart attack in Springfield goes not to Broomfield but directly by ambulance to Basildon, where they are seen immediately by top specialists working round the clock.
“Life-saving emergency care is time critical, but a centralised team can start their care long before the patient arrives. With today’s technology, ambulance paramedics can stabilise patients and send diagnostic information to the central team.
“Specialists can work with the ambulance team to ensure a safe transfer to hospital and be ready and waiting at the door to fast track the patient for specialist scans and treatment. This is not always possible in a general hospital A&E, where staff care for a broad range of conditions.”
Since April last year clinicians have been working together to develop plans for how the three main hospitals could meet rising demands by working better together as a group, including ways to provide major emergency care and create more space for planned surgery.
The plans look at the possibility of new centres of excellence across the hospital group in both planned and emergency care.
It is hoped these centres of excellence for surgery and other treatments could reduce waiting times and put an end to cancelled operations caused by surges in emergency cases. They are designed to improve care, recovery outcomes and offer a better experience for patients overall.