Hospital boss says lessons have been learnt after Southend sex clinic forced to close

A hospital boss has promised lessons have been learnt and they will now be paying rent in advance after Southend’s struggling sexual health clinic was forced to close due to unpaid bills.

Questions were raised during a meeting on Monday night about the closure of the clinic in Thamesgate House, Victoria Avenue, and councillors were told the failure to pay bills on time had been the result of “human error”.

Staff were locked out of the clinic in October last year when it was closed down by bailiffs, causing up to a two-month wait for appointments. The hospital said would look to regain access through a court order.

During the meeting, Clare Burns, director of operations for planned scheduled care, said: “We have reviewed exactly what happened to understand the lessons because obviously that’s the most important thing and a couple of things have changed to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“The most important one being we now pay rent in advance on buildings to ensure that it doesn’t happen, but it was just human error that cause it to happen. We’ve also introduced a new post which oversees all the hospital portfolios to ensure that its not something that happens and looks at terms of leases to make sure they are more in favour to us in the past.”

She added: “We are confident not this is in place it has resolved the issue.”

Southend Hospital launched the service in April after winning a two-year contract with Southend Council to run the service with community care organisation, Provide.

The service has helped reduce Southend’s teen pregnancy problems – which had previously been high but dropped to 18.6 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter