Commenting on a letter he received from Health Minister Ivan Lewis MP today in response to his correspondence of 2nd November, John Baron MP welcomed news that the local campaign against an Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) in Basildon has paid off. Ivan Lewis confirmed that “Basildon is not currently one of the sites being considered”. Despite rumours about the local project being cancelled, this is the first time the Department of Health has admitted that plans for an ISTC locally have been shelved.
This is great news for local NHS patients – our campaign has really paid off. An ISTC would have disrupted existing services, taken resources away from Basildon Hospital, and had a knock-on effect on training budgets and cross-subsidy of emergency services. It is no wonder that the hospital and SW Essex Primary Care Trust were both opposed.
Having raised this matter in Parliament and in writing many times, I am relieved the Government has finally listened to the views of local people. It would have been completely wrong to impose an ISTC against the wishes of the local NHS. Ministers admitted as much to me months ago, but now we have a concrete assurance.