THE Fryatt Hospital is set to benefit from new walk-in centre services as part of a major overhaul at the site.

The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, has revealed the new walk in centre services as part of the new Health and Community Hub.

However, very little is expected to change in terms of services offered, but patients using the Fryatt Hospital and Clacton Hospital will benefit from virtual support from GPs and increased skills coming from a new Urgent Treatment Service contract.

A spokeswoman for the clinical commissioning group said further information would be available as plans were confirmed.

She said: “During 2019, the existing Minor Injuries Unit at Fryatt will be part of a wider Urgent Treatment Services contract.

“We are also proposing to develop a new 24-bed ward at Fryatt Hospital, which will enable relocating community beds from Clacton.

“This is the first phase of a multi-million pound investment in Clacton and Fryatt Hospitals, creating Community Health and Well-being hubs at both locations.”

The proposed bed relocation was subject to a public engagement process with a report expected to be published in the next few weeks.

The clinical commissioning group has committed to expanding availability of primary care services in Clacton District Hospital and Fryatt Hospital.

With the expected increase in the numbers of patients, staff and visitors, it is investigating the potential to create a community café as part of the Fryatt development.

The Standard revealed last year community beds at Clacton Hospital are set to move to the Fryatt Hospital.

It was originally thought a new ward at the Dovercourt site, created by removing the maternity and theatre, would increase available beds to 45.

However, health bosses have say this could increase to 49.

The clinical commissioning group wanted to move the beds because the Clacton wards were no longer “fit for purpose” and the new ward would require less staffing.

A report stated: “Clacton Hospital’s ward areas, particularly Kate Grant ward is not conducive to delivering modern care, does not meet current standards and is becoming unfit for purpose, (e.g a lack of space to manoeuvre new pieces of equipment such as hoists or beds). The configuration of the wards at Clacton requires a higher level of staffing than would otherwise be required if the wards were of a modern design with appropriate adjacencies.

“Long term nurse vacancies exist resulting in reliance on employment of high cost agency staff, this model is not financially sustainable.

“Relocation of the beds to a modern ward environment at Fryatt Hospital could provide for a more sustainable staffing model in the future.

“The Clacton Hospital site infrastructure requires significant upgrade and replacement with a backlog maintenance liability alone estimated to be between £6 million and £10 million.

“Fryatt Hospital in Harwich is a modern, compliant building although has unused areas (Theatre and inpatient Maternity space) which costs the health economy in excess of £800k per annum in rent costs.

“The unused areas can be readily and cost effectively converted to provide a fit for purpose, high quality community in-patient unit with suitable therapies and day space.”

An independent report into the consultation, which had more than 400 responses, is expected to be published in the coming weeks.