Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt paid a visit to Essex to lend his support for plans to overhaul local health care.

Mr Hunt visited Tilbury  to see the site where work on the new medical centre is underway. He toured the area and enjoyed some food in a local Indian restaurant where he chatted with the owner who is also a dentist.

The health minister went on to meet Southend Tories, including Rochford and Southend West MP James Duddridge.

He was welcomed to Thorpe Bay and Shoebury where another new primary health care centre is also planned.

Mr Hunt visited a Shoebury pharmacy and GP surgery and helped Southend Conservatives launch their local election campaign by delivering leaflets to homes in The Broadway Thorpe Bay.

The health care centres will form an important part of the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) plans to revolutionise local health services by providing more care in the community.

Campaigners have raised concerns about services moving out of Southend Hospital and Orsett Hospital - the latter would result in its closure - but Mr Hunt believes the new services will be better.

Mr Hunt said: “What matters is that are we giving better services to the people of south Essex.

“Look at things like better access to mental health care where there has been a groundbreaking improvement for people with depression and anxiety, and look at the care of older people where the local council and local NHS are joining up services.

“These days, a lot of the care people want is delivered in their homes.

“What we are actually seeing is a dramatic change in services where care is a lot better than it was five years ago.”