A meeting of South Essex MPs took place in the House of Commons last week, when local MPs had an opportunity to quiz local health chiefs on a number of issues relating to healthcare in the county.
Those present in the meeting, which was convened by Mark Francois, (MP for Rayleigh and Wickford) included, Sir James Duddridge (MP for Rochford and Southend East) Anna Firth (MP for Southend West) Stephen Metcalfe (MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock) Rebecca Harris (MP for Castle Point) and Jackie Doyle-Price (MP for Thurrock.) Also in attendance were staff of Alex Burghart MP (who was unable to attend due to Ministerial business.)
The NHS team were led by Andrew Pike, the Chief Operating Officer of The Mid & South Essex Hospital Trust, supported by Fiona Ryan, Managing Director of Basildon Hospital, Ciara Moore, Director of Improvement at Southend Hospital and Tom Abell, Chief Executive Officer of the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST.)
The MPs were also expecting to hear from Anthony McKeever, The Chief Executive of the new Mid & South Essex Integrated Care Board- who unfortunately withdrew from the meeting the evening before.
The MPs raised a number of important issues with the senior NHS officials, including access to GP appointments, community health services, availability of X-ray machines and particularly the operation of the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) and the delays to admissions for ambulance patients, especially at Southend Hospital.
Speaking after the meeting, Mark Francois MP, who chaired the event said:
“I and my five other Parliamentary colleagues from South Essex spent over two hours with local health chiefs in what we found to be a very helpful meeting. This gave us the opportunity to ask a number of searching questions about the operation of NHS services in our county, and we are particularly grateful to Mr Andrew Pike, for providing us with a lot of very helpful information. Following on from this meeting, we will certainly be lobbying NHS ministers regarding these issues- not least the unacceptable ambulance waits at Southend Hospital. We hope this will be the first in the series of meetings with local NHS chiefs so that we can relay first-hand the concerns of our constituents.”