A spokesperson for the Essex NHS Coalition Partnership has confirmed that the Accident and Emergency departments at Southend Hospital and Basildon Hospital are set to close in favour of a new ‘Super A&E Unit’ at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. According to Chief Executive Sir Roger Hardy of the ENHSC, the move will save the county more than £250 million per year.

Sir Roger added: ‘We predict that the new arrangements will come into effect in August 2018 once improvements to various sections of the A130 have been completed. We are going to give the people of Essex and Accident and Emergency setup that they will be proud.’

‘This new so-called ‘Super’ A&E department will act as the first point of contact for serious medical emergencies for the entire area between Chelmsford, Witham, Basildon and Southend, and it will offer a world class level of emergency care. The existing units at Southend and Basildon will be offered to interested retail partners who may wish to expand their offerings, and this extra rental revenue will be invested directly into patient care and mid to high-level employee remuneration.’

We asked Sir Roger about how traffic levels may impact upon patient care in medical emergencies with some ambulance trips to hospital predicted to take more than 75 minutes at peak times.

He said: ‘We are going to expand our paramedic training programme to include a number of key medical procedures that can be administered within an ambulance environment. For example, we have already carried out a successful trial where a caesarean section was performed in very heavy traffic on the A127, and this example will be rolled out to create a team of 50 new paramedic surgeons. We are the only NHS trust in the whole country who will be offering this career progression route to existing paramedics.’

‘The same training will eventually be offered in GP surgeries as well where there is enough room to create a theatre environment. For many patients, the treatment pathway will be greatly enhanced if someone can have a GP consultation for chest pain, an angiogram and the insertion of stents in a one-stop setup.’

‘We are also in advanced talks with Greater Anglia to see how critical patients could be moved by rail both to and from Chelmsford. I cannot personally say too much about this at the moment, but I can confirm that this will be put into practice once a few minor issues with line capacity have been addressed.’