DREAMS of a new state-of-the-art health centre in the Maldon district could collapse.

For 14 years residents have been promised better hospital provision in various forms but instead residents will get another consultation.

 The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group will delay plans and funding applications, for its downsized and downgraded hospital already rebranded this year as a health hub, to ask people if they want beds in it.

A Home First scheme is being suggested instead.

In other parts of the country Home First is a system to get people out of hospital and home sooner.

In the Maldon district the hospital option could be removed entirely making it more of a home only scheme.

Until Monday the latest information was St Peter’s Hospital, in Spital Road, would be replaced with a “health hub” with two possible sites.

Now the CCG is considering a different plan reducing the hospital still further.

The CCG claim Home First could replace the need for beds and, while they launch another consultation, any other funding applications will be delayed.

The CCG will give two options for the new “hospital”, one with beds and one without.

Chairman Dr Caroline Dollery said: “Home First is a new model of care already rolled out in various parts of the country that has proved of benefit to both patients and health systems.

“With those clear benefits, we need to consider how this model could work across the whole mid Essex patch.

“Our partners in Maldon are supportive of this approach and we’ve been working very closely with residents and other partners in Maldon to come up with plans that are right for the area.

“We want to hear residents’ views on Home First through our consultation, but in the meantime we will continue to develop two plans for the hub. That way, we can submit our business case for the Maldon centre to NHS England as soon as possible.”

Fiona Marshall, chief executive of Maldon District Council, added: “The council is working closely with the CCG to ensure Maldon gets the community and primary care facilities it needs for the future.

“The Home First approach has shown good results in other areas and could bring real benefits to the people of Maldon district. It is therefore correct this is duly considered before the final consultation and funding application are progressed to NHS England.

“We are doing all we can to deliver the new Maldon health centre in a timely manner and ensure plans for the services are being developed.”

A business case of a doctors’ surgery in Heybridge is still being worked on.