Campaigners to march through city in protest at A&E changes

Protesters marched though Chelmsford city centre against plans to downgrade Broomfield Hospitals’ A&E service, which could see some of the most critically-ill patients sent to Basildon instead.

The Essex Success Regime, which incorporates Broomfield, Basildon and Southend hospitals, published the Mid and South Essex sustainability and transformation plan (STP) in November last year putting forward reforms over the next five years in a bid to save money.

Controversially, it would see one of the hospitals, believed to be Basildon, specialising in dealing with major emergencies 24-hours-a-day, while the other two would have their emergency departments downgraded.

All three hospitals would still provide A&E walk-ins and ambulances carrying patients referred by their GPs, who could also see more services running from their surgeries.

But the prospect of critical patients travelling for an extra 30 minutes to receive treatment at Basildon has angered critics of the plans, who believe many would simply not survive.

Andy Abbott, 47, of Skerry Rise, Chelmsford, led the march on Tuesday evening, from Shire Hall to the Chelmsford City Council offices in Duke Street, where he tabled a copy of a 3,000 signature strong petition to the council’s cabinet meeting.

Mr Abbott, whose own concerns arises partly from his father’s heart condition, said: “We fully appreciate our city council has no direct power over this but we want them to stick up for the people of Chelmsford and exert some pressure.

Full story in Chelmsford and Mid Essex Times, 26 January 2017