STAFF are set to lose their jobs as wards move to Harwich, it has been claimed.

A member of staff, who has asked to remain anonymous, has hit out at the plans to move the two wards - 37 beds - from Clacton to the Fryatt Hospital in Dovercourt.

They said: “These beds are the only one’s serving the population of Clacton and relatives thereafter, will be expected to travel to Harwich hospital, a journey of 18.7 miles, taking 32 minutes and on a ‘B’ road.

“A road that in weather such as we experienced recently, in the Beast from the East, would be near impossible.

“Let us also remember, that the vast majority of our elderly population, do not find themselves in a position where they either drive, or feel confident to drive, more than a couple of miles.

“The bus service to Harwich from Clacton is their saving grace - a bus service that runs approximately every one to one hour and ten minutes and takes 55 minutes one way.”

The staff member claimed employees would have to re-apply for their jobs as there would not be the same number of vacancies available.

They added: “Some could expect to be downgraded in this shake up, taking substantial pay cuts, as their grade would no longer be available in the new and state-of-the-art rehab facility, if they were fortunate enough to obtain a post.”

A letter to staff from NHS Property Services, seen by the Standard, says: “We understand periods of uncertainty like this can cause concern and anxiety, and we would assure you as soon as we know what the CCG decision is, we will let you know. If there are subsequent changes to our services, we will consult and engage fully with you.”

A spokesman for healthcare provider ACE, which is in talks with the CCG over the proposals, said: “The CCG has considered the best future use of the community beds, including the number, location and criteria for use.

“Based on this decision, ACE will formally consult with those staff affected in line with organisational policies. The first stage of this internal consultation will be to seek the views of the staff on proposed changes to the staffing model.”