CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after confirmation that minor injury units across north Essex will not be axed.

The future of units at Clacton Hospital and the Fryatt Hospital, in Dovercourt, had been in doubt as the services were reviewed, along with the walk-in centre at Colchester General.

NHS commissioning bosses had said they wanted to “reshape” the services due to funding cuts.

One option would have seen all three units closed.

A protest march against the cuts was held in Clacton in February.

Earlier this year health bosses looked set to confirm plans to keep the units open, but with additional services to take the pressure off Colchester General’s A&E department.

Now plans have been rubber stamped to make the three units “urgent care centre hubs” – including diagnostic and minor injury services – open for at least 12 hours each day.

Former Jaywick councillor Dan Casey, who collected a 3,000-name petition opposing cuts in Clacton, said it was fantastic news.

“To close the minor injuries unit here would have been a total disaster,” he said.

“This is a tourist town and lots of people use the unit, including holidaymakers.

“Without the minor injuries unit, I don’t know how we would have coped. That’s why it was so important to keep it open,”

A report which went before the board on Tuesday said the clinical commissioning group would work with an “alliance” of providers to support the new units and tackle the financial challenge.

It said: “The group is challenged financially and by the demographics of a growing elderly population within an urgent care system which is fragmented, difficult for patients to navigate, open to duplication and facing increasing demand.

“We have made the decision that working with an alliance of providers will be the best solution to provide an affordable, sustainable and fully-integrated urgent treatment service to support the developing primary care hubs in north-east Essex.”

Dr Hasan Chowhan, clinical chairman of the commissioning group, welcomed the news. He said: “This is really exciting for us and for people in north-east Essex.”

Referring to the fierce opposition which rose up amid fears the units could be closed, he added: “It hasn’t been an entirely straightforward process – there were a few uncomfortable moments along the way.

“But now we’ve come to the end and have the chance to deliver something very exciting here.”

Sam Hepplewhite, chief officer at the clinical commissioning group, said it was vital the group is seen to follow through with the plan and deliver the urgent care centres.