A CORONAVIRUS area has been set up at Clacton Hospital in preparation for any suspected cases in Tendring.

Clacton MP Giles Watling visited the unit to speak to staff ahead of any possible outbreak of Covid-19 in the district.

Mr Watling also met Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE) staff to find out about the latest healthcare services being provided at Clacton Hospital, which saw the launch of its revamped Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) in October.

Following the visit, Mr Watling said: “There’s nothing to worry about in our area yet, but it is great to see that the hospital is prepared, with excellent facilities and wonderful staff.

“They’ve done a brilliant job.”

He also visited the Integrated Rapid Assessment Service (IRAS), a multi-disciplinary team approach based in the Emergency Department at Colchester Hospital.

The IRAS team see patients in the emergency department and rapidly identify those who do not require admission and instead provide care outside hospital, normally as close to the patient’s home as possible.

They also provide nursing, social and therapy assessments and basic equipment.

“It is wonderful to get out in the community and understand how recent investments in services have improved the outcome for patients” added Mr Watling.

“The UTC based at the hospital is one such service.

“Many of my constituents will know it as the Minor Injuries Unit, but the UTC is better equipped and able to see a wider range of patients including those with minor injuries, minor illnesses, and acute problems.”

The centre treats 110 patients per day, many of whom would otherwise have had to visit Colchester Hospital or their GP.

Frank Sims, chief executive at ACE, said most of the services are there to try and keep people from having to go into hospital.

“For many people a stay in hospital is not the best solution,” he said.

“Most of us want to be cared for at home, in places we know and close to our families. That is our whole ethos at ACE, to help care for people as close to home as possible.”

Mr Watling also visited the St Osyth Priory ward, which provides rehabilitation care as well as a number of beds for those at end of life.

Ward manager Debbie said: “Giles seemed genuinely touched when he heard how we help patients to choose their preferred place to die, enabling them to stay closer to home in the community hospital.

“We pride ourselves on giving care that matters and this resonated with him.”

North East Essex CCG said the NHS in Essex is well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases.