Health trust criticised over refusal to confirm new hospital on Dagenham factory site

A health trust faced criticism this week over its refusal to confirm whether a multi-million pound “community hospital” in Dagenham would go ahead.

The sanofi-aventis site had been earmarked for the poly-clinic, which would include a care centre with medics, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, outpatients departments and health screening.

The facility would be the “cornerstone” of the multi-million pound rejuvenation of its 108-acre factory site, due to close in 2013, a sanofi spokesman told the Post.

The now defunct NHS Barking and Dagenham put forward plans to shelve the GP-led polyclinic in Rainham Road South the day before it disbanded.

The new health trust replacing NHS Barking and Dagenham, NHS Outer North East London (ONEL), said plans for a “potential health facility” were still on the table but would not confirm where it would be.

Barking and Dagenham Council criticised the trust for failing to make public its proposals to write-off the community hospital, which could fill an important gap in health in Dagenham.

Health cabinet member, Cllr Linda Reason, said: “The fact that health chiefs haven’t published their proposals so the public and local politicians can hold them up to scrutiny, makes me very suspicious.

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“It’s time NHS managers came clean on what cuts they plan to make.”

An ONEL spokesman said: “We are still involved in discussions with a range of partners and stakeholders around a potential health facility in Dagenham and have started working with GP commissioners to develop a business case.

“We are committed to getting the best value for money and will spend taxpayers’ money responsibly while protecting frontline health services.”