Giles Watling MP has reacted to notice being served on ACE, the community care provider who run a set of health services at Clacton Hospital and various GP’s, by the North East Essex CCG (The local commissioning arm of the NHS). The aim is that community health services in Clacton will be brought back into the NHS by this time next year.

Commenting on ACE, Giles said:

“I have run a campaign since 2017 on local health standards.  Sadly, for several years, ACE attracted the most numerous complaints, with over 500 people writing to me regarding terrible waiting times for GP appointments and poor service generally.  I met with ACE and the NHS well over a dozen times, and while they have some amazing front line staff, few improvements were made by the then leadership of ACE.  This is an historical issue which the previous senior management failed to grasp.  When the CCG moved ACE away from some of their local contracts, we saw patient satisfaction increase.  I did my best to help ACE improve by mediating between interested parties, sadly to no avail.  The fact is that our NHS experts in the CCG want to create a viable future for community services and I applaud them for taking firm action for the people of Clacton”.

In terms of what this means for local people, Giles has been given robust reassurances: 

“I have spoken to the Managing Director of the CCG, Ed Garrett, and have been told that patients will not see an instant change or loss of services,  In fact I am assured of a seamless takeover, and there will be a positive future for staff under new leadership. ACE are able to continue for the next 12 months, as a full and fair procurement process is carried out to find a great new provider. I have spoken to the new Chief Executive of ACE and will support him in this transition – I want to be constructive as we move toward a better future. If ACE decide not to keep going, caretaker arrangements are prepared. Given the contractual nature of this, it would not be appropriate to comment further on this at this stage.

In terms of the future, Giles said:

“This is a time for a line in the sand and to move boldly forward. We already have an exciting plan for a circa £15m upgrade of Clacton Hospital, and I have lobbied the CCG and EPUT (our NHS mental health arm) for much improved services here. EPUT are already doing great work, and the CCG has just put an extra £100k into young peoples mental health locally. My hope is that a new community care provider will become a firm part of this exciting work. I am now working with the CCG to look further to the future and I will be lobbying the Treasury for any additional funds we need; I want more local care beds, new orthopaedic care, better mental health access, and a stronger primary care offer.

“We have a great local partnership, rolling out plans for new services and tackling old issues – is been a long road, but the future is bright for the sunshine coast. For any questions, contact the CCG directly for general or individual questions on