A PROMINENT senior consultant has resigned from his role in helping to introduce sweeping NHS changes to three Essex hospitals.

Southend Hospital stroke consultant Paul Guyler, steps down as stroke clinical lead with the Mid and South Essex Transformation Partnershipin December - and as stroke lead at the hospital in March.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Resignation - Dr Paul Guyler

And it’s been revealed three other consultants have also stepped down as clinical leads of their departments in the midst of the partnership’s merger of Southend, Basildon and Broomfield hospitals and the subsequent creation of specialist centres.

Dr Guyler’s resignation comes in the wake of new figures showing the award-winning Southend stroke service has declined.

Hospital managers have blamed the decline on long-anticipated delays in implementing plans to streamline services after funding was held up.

Dr Caroline Howard, clinical director for emergency medicine, who has previously raised concerns about the planned transportation of critically-ill patients between the planned specialist centres, has resigned her lead role.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Against regime plans - Dr Caroline Howard

She is joined by Dr Tony O’Brien, clinical lead for elderly medicine. All currently remain at the hospital as consultants.

Dr Olumide Ogundare, acting clinical director for nephrology, has resigned entirely from the Southend Hospital.

The number of simultaneous resignations from clinical lead roles is described as “highly unusual” and said to be led by concerns over the hospital merger.

Ashley Dalton, Labour parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East, contacted the hospital about Dr Guyler’s resignation before learning others had quit.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

Worried - Ashley Dalton

She said: “Local people have repeatedly expressed their fears over the changes to services provided at Southend Hospital under the STP.

“It is absolutely vital that any reforms to local healthcare provision put patients’ safety, well-being and quality of treatment above all else, taking into account the professional views of clinicians.”

Yvonne Blücher, managing director of Southend Hospital, confirmed the resignations, saying: “The clinical lead role is a short tenure role in addition to other clinical duties.

“Consultants may choose to step down as clinical lead without resigning their substantive consultant post.”