PLANS to transfer patients between hospitals could be referred to the secretary of state.

Southend Council has rejected transformation plans described as “unclear and poorly defined” with no clear information about how patients will be transferred.

Is it part of a “treat and transfer” plans where patients will go to their nearest A&E first and then be transferred to whichever out of Basildon, Southend or Broomfield Hospital have been allocated for their particular ailments.

The plans were put together by those in charge of health commissioning in south and mid Essex who formed the sustainability transformation partnership.

It is hoped costs can be cut by only offering certain services at certain hospitals rather than a full range of care at each.

Tomorrow a scrutiny committee will discuss whether the concerns raised by Southend Council justify referring the eventual decision to Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care.

Labour group leader and councillor Ian Gilbert said: “I am hoping they take our concerns very seriously.

“I’m hoping they will decide that this reorganisation should not go ahead.

“The fact the whole council agreed, not just one political group, is a strong indication the town isn’t satisfied with it."

Campaign group Save Southend NHS has also criticised the plans for a “stunning lack of detail” and called patient transport concerns a “critical issue”.

Secretary Mike Fieldhouse said: “We don’t think the public consultation was carried out properly and amounted to little more than a sales pitch, with the true consequences of these root and branch changes to our NHS services in our hospitals throughout mid and south Essex being buried beneath glossy brochures and behind flashy PowerPoint presentations.”

The health partnership noted the concerns and confirmed it continues to work with councils on the plans.