District councillor speaks out on St Peter's saga as researcher slams NHS consultation

By Nick Spenceley

26th Mar 2024 | Readers Letters

Photograph by Chris Cook of a protest on Sunday, March 17.
Photograph by Chris Cook of a protest on Sunday, March 17.

A LEADING policy researcher has slammed the NHS consultation on St Peter's Hospital as "an attempt to mislead the public".

Dr Peter Levin, a social policy expert and former lecturer at the London School of Economics, claims that the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board's (ICB's) consultation document "amounts to an attempt to mislead the public into thinking that all possibilities are open."

He said: "All options involving keeping St. Peter's Hospital open were ruled out by a Task Force very early in their work.

"No-one seems to have asked: 'What do we see if we look at St. Peter's Hospital Building and site as an opportunity.'"

Dr Levin, who previously investigated a community hospital closure in Cornwall, studied the ongoing St Peter's consultation after he was alerted to it by Heybridge Councillor Nick Spenceley.

Dr Levin added: "St. Peter's Hospital appears to have been deliberately allowed to run down. If that had not been the case, the faulty roofs would have been dealt with, at a manageable cost."

He argues that the business case for the proposal does not show an understanding of the role of intermediate care in community hospitals. 

These, he says, "provide essential stages for patients in a process, their care journey from the acute hospital where they have been treated to their home."

He believes that Maldon's increasing over-65 population makes this need for step-down care even more acute. 

Dr Levin's message for the ICB is clear: "There has to be more to public participation than inviting lay people to 'have your say' after crucial decisions have already been taken. If you get a hostile reception, be aware of the reasons for it and be prepared to go back to the drawing board."

Commenting, Councillor Nick Spenceley said: "I am immensely grateful to Dr Levin for sharing his expertise. His study of the consultation and its proposals will now be presented to the ICB as evidence.

"I would also urge residents to continue making their voice heard through completion of the survey, and by participation in events organised by the campaign group Save Maldon's Medical Services."

Dr Levin's report lists five key flaws in the ICB's proposals and the consultation process over St Peter's and community beds across Mid and South Essex. The report can be found here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board stated in a recent public meeting that the consultation aims to discuss "how [the NHS] can best serve our growing population" of 1.2 million people.

They continue to remind the public that changes to St Peter's are not a "done deal", and encourage residents to participate in the ongoing consultation.

The consultation is set to end on April 4, 2024, after a previous extension to the consultation period.


New maldon Jobs Section Launched!!
Vacancies updated hourly!!
Click here: maldon jobs


Related Articles

Resident Lois Wilmot is urging developers to reconsider their plans for 'Maldon Woods', a proposed 275-home development. (Composite: Ben Shahrabi)
Readers Letters

Reader’s Letter: ‘Please don't disturb the peace and beauty of Maldon Cemetery’

An increasing number of residents in the Maldon District are calling for St Peter's Hospital to be 'saved', as they fear it could close altogether. (Credit: Ben Shahrabi)
Readers Letters

Reader's Letter: Save St Peter's Hospital - Maldon residents join calls to keep wards open

Sign-Up for our FREE Newsletter

We want to provide Maldon with more and more clickbait-free local news.
To do that, we need a loyal newsletter following.
Help us survive and sign up to our FREE weekly newsletter.

Already subscribed? Thank you. Just press X or click here.
We won't pass your details on to anyone else.
By clicking the Subscribe button you agree to our Privacy Policy.