The five clinical commission groups in mid and south Essex have launched a formal public consultation on outline plans for the future of health and care services.
The proposals are a result of detailed work undertaken by clinical teams across health and care organisations to improve the services provided to the 1.2 million people living in mid and south Essex.
The Joint Committee of the CCGs yesterday gave approval to begin consultation on proposals which include:
Making improvements in A&E at all three hospitals with the development of new assessment and treatment centres alongside each A&E. All three A&Es will be led by a consultant, open 24 hours a day and will receive "blue light" ambulances.
Develop a new specialist stroke centre which would provide the highest dependency and intensive care for people in the first 72 hours following a stroke alongside rapid access to diagnostics and specialist interventions. This would be in addition to the existing stroke care units at all three hospitals which would remain in place.
Bring together in one place some specialist inpatient care where there is existing expertise and to allow for extended hours, seven day a week consultant and specialist cover for these services. Clinical evidence from elsewhere shows that this would improve care and the chances of a making a good recovery.
Separate some planned operations from emergency cases. Some complex orthopaedic operations that need a few days hospital stay could be performed in Southend Hospital for people in south Essex and Braintree Community Hospital for people in mid Essex. This would reduce cancelled operations and rates of infection by separating this type of care from emergency care.
Moving community services closer to where people live. For example in Thurrock the proposals outline how services currently provided at Orsett Hospital could be provided in four new "integrated medical centres" and existing and new facilities across Basildon and Brentwood.
These changes are alongside the collective intention of health and care services to build up GP and community services and extend the range of professionals and services available via GP practices as part of a bold plan to provide increased care for local communities closer to where they live.
Dr Caroline Dollery, GP and chair of Mid Essex CCG said: "The public consultation is an important next stage in the work we have been doing together to develop and build a health and care system fit for the future for the people of mid and south Essex and provide them with a further opportunity to give us their views to help shape the proposals.
"This is not a final decision to implement any of the changes described, which would only happen after the consultation with our local communities has finished and the feedback independently analysed."
Dr Celia Skinner, chief medical officer for the three hospitals said: "These proposals set out our ambition to reorganise services across our hospital sites in Basildon, Chelmsford, Southend and Orsett so that we are working together to deliver the best services we can, using our people and resources as effectively as possible for the greatest benefit.
"This happens already for a number of conditions and local doctors and health professionals have been working over many months on the possibilities of bringing together other highly specialist services and how best to separate emergency surgery from planned operations, to reduce cancellations.
"We welcome the public consultation as it represents the next opportunity to discuss these proposals more formally with local people and stakeholders to further seek their views on the potential changes."
Full details of the proposals and the ways in which people can get involved and have their say are available at www.nhsmidandsouthessex.co.uk
Feedback from the consultation will then undergo independent review before it is considered by the Joint Committee in the early summer of 2018 along with clinical evidence, financial plans and other details in a final business case.
2. The Mid and South Essex STP brings together all health and care organisations to work on a single plan to respond to the rising number of people who need health and care services.
The Mid and South Essex STP is made up of the following health and care organisations:
NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which plan and buy your healthcare with an annual allocation of funds from the Government
Basildon and Brentwood CCG
Castle Point and Rochford CCG
Mid Essex CCG
The CCGs work closely with GP practices, pharmacies, social care and voluntary services in your area.
Local authorities, which provide social care and commission services from care agencies, care homes and voluntary services
Essex County Council
Southend-on sea Borough Council
Organisations, which provide services commissioned by CCGs
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which provides services from Basildon and Orsett Hospitals
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, which provides services from Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and Braintree Community Hospital
Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which provides services from Southend Hospital
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Organisations, which provide services commissioned by CCGs and local authorities
Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, which provides community services, adult mental health services and inpatient children’s mental health services
North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), which provides community services and children’s community mental health services
Provide, which provides community and social care services
Planners and regulators
Your local independent watchdog bodies - Healthwatch Essex, Healthwatch Southend and Healthwatch Thurrock
NHS England specialised commissioning, which buys the most specialised services for the whole of the midlands and east region
Health Education England, which is responsible for the development of the NHS workforce
NHS England and NHS Improvement, the national regulators of the NHS