The MP has called on the Department for Health to ensure that healthcare services at Southend Hospital are supported and patients put first. Leading a Parliamentary debate on the hospital, Sir David outlined the services at Southend at the forefront of excellence and innovative but also highlighted residents’ concerns about their future.
In the debate on Wednesday 5th December, the Southend West MP praised the hospital’s world-class cancer services. The Radiotherapy Department a special mention after recently receiving international recognition for its pioneering radiation treatment and high standards. However, with over 36% of Southend cancer patients waiting more than 8 weeks to start treatment, he called on the Government to do more to reduce unacceptable delays. Sir David asked the Health Minister Stephen Hammond MP to consider the success of the Mobile Stroke Ambulance at Southend, and support its continuation and roll out across the country.
The issue of transport services was also raised. Speaking in the debate, Sir David said that ‘Whilst Southend Hospital is leading the way in many areas of care, transfer to specialist services is obviously important. Patients are currently transported to acute services across Essex through the “treat and transfer” model. Although that is working in ensuring that patients get access to the specialist treatment they need, a big concern for our constituents is the impact that an expansion to the model could have.’ Given the current pressures on the East of England Ambulance Service, the MP asked for assurances that the support and resources are there for the proposed increase in transfers. Minister Stephen Hammond confirmed that the Department for Health was working with the ‘relevant authorities to ensure resources are made available to bring the service up to the expected standard’.
The debate comes as the Mid and South Essex NHS Trust’s Sustainable Transformation Partnership plans have been referred to the Secretary of State for review. The plans would see the reconfiguration of specialist services across hospitals in Essex and centralisation of some acute services. Sir David Amess raised his concerns about proposals to centralise stroke services in Basildon Hospital, and said that any changes must not result in the degradation of stroke care in Southend. The MP called on the Minister to confirm that any decision made will be clinician led, and put patients first.