MORE walk-in health centres should also be opened to reduce the number of patients visiting Southend Hospital, says one of the governors.

Ted Lewin, Lib Dem councillor for St Laurence, has called for a new primary care centre in London Road, Westcliff, similar to ones opened in North Road, Southend, and Valkyrie Road, Westcliff, last year.

He also criticised the St Luke’s Health Centre, in Pantile Avenue, Southchurch, which has operated from a temporary building since 2009.

His comments come at a time the hospital is struggling to come to terms with the number of patients coming through its doors.

Mr Lewin said: “St Luke’s walk-in centre at the Pantiles, a temporary building with a medical practice attached and little parking, is clearly not fit for purpose.

“The building is to be replaced in two years.

“A Shoebury resident went on a Saturday afternoon and there was no doctor and no bandages.

“We clearly need a large walkin facility on the London Road with adequate facilities and transport links, not part of a doctor’s surgery.”

Mr Lewin suggested the primary care centre be in the Chalkwell area.

The large former Toomey car showroom opposite Chalkwell Park may be a large enough site, but it is less than a mile from the Valkyrie Road Primary Care Centre.

The NHS said it would replace the St Luke’s Health Centre within two years after a campaign by St Luke’s councillors Sally Carr, Paul Van Looy and Brian Ayling last month.

Conservative Mrs Carr said: “We have worked tirelessly to get a new health centre in St Luke’s.

“We have lobbied anybody and everybody. It’s unfair for the west to get two primary care centres and the east didn’t get any, through no fault of our own.”

Plans for a new healthcare centre in Shoebury have been mooted since 2005 and were presented to the trust board, but the scheme was shelved after the Government announced a shake-up of the NHS in 2011.

NHS South Essex decided to close the Shoebury House health centre, which saw more than 160 patients a week, and move services five miles away to Westcliff in January last year.

The then primary care trust also warned Shoebury Health Centre in Campfield Road, which houses two GP practices as well as various services, including counselling, midwifery and nutrition, is nearing the end of its life and new premises need to be found.