COVID-19 patients from across south Essex will be treated at a specialist unit at Basildon Hospital if a second wave hits, creating an “infection barrier” with Southend.
The Mid and South Essex Hospitals Trust has confirmed it will separate all Covid-19 and other patients in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, should coronavirus rates rise again.
A spokesman for the trust said: “Part of the reorganisation involves catering for the sickest Covid-19 patients in one location. This will be the Mid and South Essex Specialist Critical Care Centre situated on the Basildon site.
“The main reason for this decision is that there is already infrastructure – oxygen supply and appropriately configured ward space – at Basildon which will allow for the patients to be cared for in one unit.
“This is rather than spread across hospital sites in different locations as was the case during the first surge.
“The plan involves creating a facility for 26 patients with capability to increase to 100 in the event of extreme surge.”
Trevor Harp, councillor responsible for health and wellbeing in Southend, said: “I can understand the logic behind what they’re doing, we previously used to have individual fever hospitals.
“It could maintains a sort of infection barrier, but if the spike turns out to be worse I imagine they would try to use all capacity available.”
Kerry Smith, deputy leader of Basildon Council, said the plans would be welcome but the borough would need more resources.
He said: “A nurse could have been dealing with a Covid situation and they could be a carrier.
“If that goes forward the hospital and council is going to need more resources to keep the areas clean and help the parking situation.
“A lot of workers will be relying on public transport, there needs to be that discussion, and they should be approaching us.”