A doctor fears lack of funding is resulting in patients being referred for cheaper treatment options.

Dr Martin Haeger, of the Blackwater Medical Centre in Maldon, raised his concerns following the recent closure of the orthopaedic services clinic at the town's St Peter's Hospital.

He also said referral letters go through the Clinical Referral Service, which he claims often chooses the cheapest alternatives for patient treatment.

Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions services in the Maldon area, is one of the lowest funded in the country due to complicated formulas to work out how much money areas should receive.

A spokesman said they depend on the views and guidance of its members – local GPs – to commission services that target its limited resources at patients with the greatest clinical need.

The CCG has also been working with the NHS national strategy teams to "get the approach right to creating a modern, integrated well-being, health and social care service."