An asbestos discovery and worries over dust and noise exposure have caused work on a new health centre in Southend to be suspended.
Building works have been taking place to create a new integrated care facility called Cumberlege Intermediate Care Centre.
These works come after temporary buildings have been used for the past 9 years where St Luke’s Surgery, Pantile Avenue, Southend, has been operating.
However, shortly after the building work commenced in June 2018, an asbestos discovery was made amongst other problems.
Patients have been moved from the premises as a result of the asbestos discovery, but officials say that the work has not been suspended due to concerns over patient safety.
Care centre staff and patients are being moved to the Maple Ward at Rochford Hospital.
This move is being made possible as a result of beds on Maple Ward being transferred to the Meadowview Ward at Thurrock Hospital.
And patients on the Thurrock ward to a are being moved to a ward in Basildon.
The pressure is now on to find these patients alternative accommodation or else the project could lose a whopping £1.5million in NHS funding.
This will expire in February 2019 if it’s not used.
Interim accountable officer for NHS Southend clinical commissioning group, Cathy Gritzner, said, “We can confirm that at no point during recently completed works has asbestos come into the patient or staff spaces.”
“Work has been underway for some months to prepare for the construction of a permanent building to house St Luke’s GP Practice at Cumberlege Lodge.”
“Part of this work would have included the installation of fire doors that would have created severe exposure to noise and dust in the building.”
“Another part of the work was the removal of asbestos in the roof.”
“Despite efforts to limit the impact on the patients residing within the CICC, it has become evident that there is a risk that planned and future building works could pose an impact on staff, patients and their safety.”
“In light of these concerns, the NHS is working with a number of key partners to secure a quick solution that will ensure patients in the rehabilitation unit are safely relocated as quickly as possible, to avoid any delays in the development of a building for the registered patients of St Luke’s GP practice.”
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