CAMPAIGNERS lobbying against changes to local NHS services fear that extra money allocated for Southend Hospital in the budget will just mean less in the long run.
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, announced, following his intervention, the hospital will receive £41million in the budget to help its modernisation plans.
However Save Southend NHS campaign group called the figures into question.
A spokesman feared that the “one-off payment” would take money away from the hospital in the future.
He said: “Any lobbying of the Government Mr Duddridge may or may not have done is unlikely to have affected the £41million Southend Hospital is set to receive – there was always money set aside for the implementation of these transformation plans.
“For this one-off payment to foot the bill for reorganisation costs, our hospital will receive approximately £30million less per year, every year, and in Mid and South Essex the health budget will see a reduction of over £400million by 2021.”
The funding is from a budget announcement of extra cash for sustainability and transformation plans across the country. The three hospitals in mid and south Essex, Southend Basildon and Broomfield, will get £90million, meaning Southend will get the largest share.
The campaigners added: “We do not see this as a competition for funding with our neighbours. We want to see a properly funded and staffed NHS for everyone in the UK.
“Our Save Southend A&E Campaign was backed by people from across the political spectrum who do not want to see this valuable public asset of ours dismantled and sold off to the highest bidder.”
The plans, if implemented following a public consultation, will see a hyper acute stroke unit and a specialist emergency centre created at Basildon Hospital. Hospitals will keep their own A&Es and stroke units.
Mr Duddridge said: “I am disappointed some people behind the Save Southend A&E campaign do not welcome this investment to improve our local health infrastructure. The £41million Southend Hospital has received was not always set aside for transformation plans. I have lobbied the Government to ensure this funding was given.”
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