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Construction work is set to begin on Thurrock’s first new medical centre in November, council documents have revealed.
The facility in Corringham will be known as an Integrated Medical Centre (IMC) as it will bring a range of services under one roof, including blood tests, mental health services for adults and children, and other primary care services.
Work is expected to last just over a year with the centre opening in early 2022.
The Corringham facility is the first of four IMCs to be built across the borough, with the other due to be built in Grays, Tilbury and Purfleet.
Once they have all been completed the NHS will look to close down Orsett Hospital which has already been operating with limited services.
Thurrock’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) has promised all those services will be transferred to the medical centres before the closure but the move has angered residents who fear IMCs will not be a suitable replacement for a hospital.
Work on the IMCs in Tilbury and Purfleet is likely to begin sometime next year and open in 2023 but the Grays IMC at Thurrock Community Hospital is facing delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Council papers state: “Thurrock Community Hospital has played a key part in the local health response to Covid-19 and consequently work on the Grays IMC has been paused since mid-March.
“The timescales for this IMC becoming operational are therefore currently under review in light of the impact of the Covid Pandemic.”
It is likely that the Grays IMC will be the largest of the four centres, offering more expansive services which will be divided across two main areas.
The first would be a ‘Health Village’ which is described as “incorporating quieter and more long-term activities” while the second would be a ‘Day Hub’, where patients would “come for appointments and more short-term activities”.