It was, however, the Mid and South Essex plans for the NHS that dominated debate. It was noted that it is intended to have a free bus service between hospitals at Southend, Chelmsford and Basildon and that a new type of inter-hospital clinical transport with a senior doctor or nurse is to be provided for medical transfers. Chelmsford TUC will be campaigning for this new transfer service to be in the public sector rather than being outsourced.
Delegates welcomed the £30 million investment in community, primary care and new technology, and felt that there was a need for a number of publicly-owned walk-in centres to ease pressure on A&E units. They will also be asking for all A&E departments to be brought up to required staffing levels, including consultants, as this will lessen the need for transfers to Basildon. The cost savings were also noted but delegates believe that the main financial factor for this area is that the £1.85 billion provided per year is insufficient, and that our national NHS funding as a percentage of GDP is well below that of other countries within the EU. The Trades Union Council will be submitting its considered views following its next meeting.