Prof Mike Thorne CBE named as chair designate of planned NHS board for our area

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The local NHS took a step towards its expected future this week with the appointment of Professor Mike Thorne CBE as the chair designate of the structure likely to oversee it.

The Health Bill currently going through Parliament will create a statutory Integrated Care Board (ICB) for mid and south Essex if it becomes law. It has recently passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons, showing its enactment is likely, so the NHS has an obligation to prepare.

Appointing a chair designate of the ICB sets the tone for the local health and care system, which the Health Secretary last week confirmed would continue to cover the nine city, district and unitary local authority areas of mid and south Essex.

Prof Thorne was appointed to the role after a robust recruitment and assessment process led by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Anthony McKeever, executive lead for the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said: “It was good news for all of us in the local NHS and the area we serve that Prof Mike Thorne was confirmed as our chair designate this week.

“Mike already chairs the health and care partnership, so I have worked with him for some time already and know his enthusiasm for improving our residents’ health outcomes is matched by his expertise and insight.”

Prof Thorne said: “I’m delighted that I have the opportunity to continue supporting the NHS in its plans to work more collaboratively across mid and south Essex. This closer cooperation, which we expect to be formalised by a new Health Act, will help deliver more joined-up care to our residents in the most appropriate way.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge for our health and care system. As we move forward, I’m proud of all the NHS, local authority, care home and voluntary workers I have the privilege of continuing to work with as chair designate.”

Prof Thorne is a former Vice-Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), has a PhD in mathematics and is also a respected orchestral conductor, experienced bassoonist and Honorary Doctor of Music. He championed research at ARU during his tenure as Vice Chancellor, becoming a CBE for services to education in 2016.

He remains the chair of the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and will start in the new role of ICB chair from April 2022 if Parliament confirms current plans.

Plenty of walk-in Covid-19 vaccinations available at Thurrock Health Centre on Saturday 31 July

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Whilst most of the remaining Covid restrictions may have been lifted, NHS staff continue working hard to deliver the largest vaccination drive in our history.

Anyone over 18 years of age is able to walk-in and get their 1st or 2nd AstraZeneca or Pfizer jab at Thurrock Health Centre on Saturday 31 July from 8am – 6pm.

There’s no need to book an appointment in advance and you do not have to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to be vaccinated. If you’ve already had your 1st dose, you must wait at least 8 weeks before your 2nd dose.

In the meantime, there’s still plenty of local walk-in availability at Stifford Clays Vaccination Hub and Chadwell Medical Centre as follows: 


Stifford Clays Vaccination Hub - Health Centre, Crammavill Street, Stifford Clays RM16 2AP

Chadwell Medical Centre - Brentwood Road, Chadwell St Mary, RM16 4JD

More information can be found online at 


Special community group Facebook event held to discuss GP Access

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Last week, we hosted a special Facebook Live event chaired by Healthwatch Essex on the This Is Your Life community group. The event offered an opportunity to have an open conversation with the community about:

  • A shared understanding of the number of GP appointments taking place every day
  • The type of illness being treated and the role residents can play to help prevent illness
  • The new healthcare professionals that are working alongside GPs to support patients
  • What’s available to help local people get access to health and care advice quickly and easily e.g. the role of community pharmacy, NHS App for repeat prescriptions.

GP patient survey results published

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Results from the latest national GP patient survey published by NHS England last week, show that despite the growing demand on services, patients who responded described their overall experience of their GP practice as good.

The survey asks about patients’ local GP services (including use of online services, awareness and satisfaction with opening times and preferred GPs), experience of making an appointment, the quality of care at their last appointment, overall experience of their GP practice, experience when their GP practice is closed as well as current health circumstances.

Mean averages across mid and south Essex show; overall experience of GP practice - 78%; overall experience of making an appointment - 65%; How easy it is to get through on the phone? - 58%; enough support from local services or organisations to help you to manage your condition? - 71%

Nationally, COVID-19 saw the introduction of “Total Telephone Triage” meaning people had to call in and provide some health information on the reasons for needing care or advice. Whilst this did cause delays in contacting some GP surgeries, this was introduced to protect patients and staff from the risks of infection, delivering phone and video consultations where possible and make sure those with the highest needs were seen quickly as possible by a GP.

Everyone is urged to download NHS App and seek information on practice websites about local vaccination clinics to help free up phone lines and make access to GP practices easier for those most in need.

Primary care lead for mid and south Essex, William Guy, said: “Latest data shows that nearly half a million (469,000) appointments took place across mid and south Essex in April 2021 alone. This is 6 per cent higher than this time last year. Around 60% of these have been face to face.

We recognise the frustration many people are encountering getting through on the telephone. We ask that everyone plays their part and access information or services in other ways where possible i.e. downloading the NHS App to obtain their vaccination status where possible.”

Across mid and south Essex, plans are in place to improve access to services through initiatives such as new roles including physios, paramedics and social prescribers. Over 250 additional professionals have been recruited over the past two years – with plans to recruit another 200 this year and more again in future years.

A Facebook Live event, hosted on the This Is Your Life Facebook page (6:30pm, 15 July), was als9 held with the aim of explaining the pressures facing GP surgeries at present and everyone’s role in helping make sure we can all stay as healthy as possible and get the care we need when we need it. Watch the video below:

Spring 2021 Issue of CCG Insight Out Now!

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We’ve released the latest edition of CCG Insight, a magazine packed full of information on healthcare in Thurrock plus details of the CCG's and our partners' work in the community.


You can find out more about all of these stories and more by viewing the latest issue above, or by downloading it by clicking the link below. We hope you enjoy reading it! Please feel free to share with friends, family members and colleagues.

pdf CCG Insight - Spring 2021 (1.09 MB)