The 15 Worst Areas For Healthcare For Essex

Quality healthcare is one of the most important things to you and your family’s wellbeing. Whether that means quicker access to GP appointments, shorter waiting times for critical surgeries and procedures, or a clean and caring environment for your relatives to recover in, it’s not hard to see why many would prefer to live or move to an area with better healthcare services. Unfortunately, some facilities and services across the UK do not live up to this important expectation.

Problems such as increasing demand and lingering after-effects of the pandemic have increase strain on the NHS over recent years, and in some cases, standards have slipped. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are responsible for maintaining quality healthcare across both public and private services, conducting regular audits to ensure health requirements are met. Inspecting everything from the quality of patient care to the hygiene of the facility, many services pass their audits with flying colours – but others are not so lucky.

Vanguard are specialists in helping facilities pass their CQC inspections. With over two decades of medical cleaning expertise, we have worked with countless medical practices to ensure an impeccable level of premises hygiene. Our staff training procedures are industry-leading, being accredited by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc), equipping our staff with the knowledge and expertise to handle an extensive range of environments, including consultation rooms, receptions, and more specialist areas.

In Vanguard’s latest healthcare report, we’ll take a look at healthcare services across Essex. We’ll outline which towns and settlements have the worst-rated medical services as determined by the CQC, and what that could mean for citizens across the area.


Overview Of Healthcare In Essex

Essex Cleaning Statistics Overview

Despite healthcare services in the county of Essex being overwhelmingly rated as Good, an average of 16.7% services (or over 1 in 8) were rated poorly. That might be concerning for local residents, who would undoubtedly prefer more watertight figures.

A more positive outlook is that most of the poorly-rated services (14.2%) were classed as Requires Improvement, which means after some focus on a few key areas, such as facility hygiene, they might yet fix their healthcare-related problems. Considerably less practices (2.5%) were rated as Inadequate, which would signify a serious problem in their day-to-day operations. Patients of services that have been rated this way would not be blamed for feeling concerned about their healthcare prospects.

On the other hand, while many services in Essex are up to scratch, very few earned the top rating of Outstanding (3.6%). This implies a startling lack of best practice, and despite the majority of services scoring well, it indicates that there could still be improvements across the board to ensure a better standard of healthcare.


Top 15 Worst Areas For Healthcare In Essex

Whether you’re simply curious about how your area scores, or are more deeply invested in your healthcare outcome, delve into our ranking of Essex’s worst places for healthcare below.

15. Loughton & Epping

13.8% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Just on the northeastern edge of the capital, the twin towns of Loughton and Epping are largely overshadowed by their neighbouring giant. The area is perhaps best known for Epping Forest, a 2,400-hectare woodland which stands as the largest forest in London. Unfortunately, healthcare within the towns could use improvement, with 13.8% of services found to be below standards.

That figure breaks down to 11 services rated as Requires Improvement and 1 service given the infamous Inadequate rating.


14. Basildon & Wickford

14.4% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Two suburban towns to the west of Southend-on-Sea, Basildon and Wickford are just a short away drive from each other. Divided by the A127 road, which eventually leads into the heart of London, the area benefits from this direct connection to the capital. What these two towns do not benefit from, however, is a worrying 14.4% of the area’s healthcare services being found sub-par.

That includes 17 practices that are rated as Requires Improvement, and 3 rated as Inadequate. However, the area does boast a surprising 6 services with an Outstanding rating, indicating a mixed bag of quality across the area.


13. Clacton-on-Sea

15.5% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

One of Essex’s seaside settlements, Clacton is primarily a resort town and day trip destination, with a pier, beaches, and pavilions all on offer. As the largest settlement on the Tendring peninsula, it boasts over 50,000 residents, making it an important economic hub as well. Despite this, healthcare is under stain in the town, with 15.5% of practices requiring improvements to their service.

As one of the few places on this list with 0 Outstanding services, Clacton residents may have concerns about the quality of their healthcare.


12. Canvey Island

17.4% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Despite being a hotspot for flooding during higher tides, Canvey Island is perched on land that has been reclaimed from the sea. It’s surrounded by creeks and rivers that disconnect the town from the mainland, giving the settlement its name. Healthcare across the town is equally disconnected, however, with 17.4% of services failing their most recent CQC inspection.

That number includes a total of 4 practices that were given a rating of Inadequate, and a further 17 rated as Requires Improvement.


11. Brightlingsea

17.9% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

On any one day, vessels are launched from Brightlingsea’s marina into the nearby creeks or the River Thames, either for a leisure trip or to fish for oysters. As an important outpost on the Essex coast, the town was once thriving but has since fallen into decline. This is reflected in the quality of nearby healthcare, with 17.9% of the area’s facilities being rated poorly.

Over half of the services in the area (41) are still unrated, meaning residents do not have as clear a view of their healthcare as some might prefer.


10. Southend-on-Sea

19.5% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Essex’s largest settlement, Southend-on-Sea is a coastal resort that hosts large numbers of tourists in the warmer months. Home to the longest pleasure pier in the UK, and a spectrum of attractions besides, it’s an ideal destination for day trippers. Sadly, healthcare for residents has taken a backseat, with 19.5% of services being found to need serious improvements.

On top of 30 practices rated as Requires Improvement, Southend-on-Sea also suffers from a whopping 8 locations ranked as Inadequate.


9. Stanford-le-Hope

19.6% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Encompassing the smaller neighbouring hamlets of Fobbing, Corringham, Mucking, and Horndon on the Hill, Stanford is rural patchwork of streams, fields, and village roads. While its natural surroundings may be impressive, the healthcare of Stanford is certainly not, with 19.6% of medical services (or almost 1 in 5) coming in below the CQC’s standards.

Of these, 17 locations have been given a Requires Improvement rating, whereas 3 have been given the unfortunate label of Inadequate.


8. Tiptree

20.0% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

An urban dot in a sea of green, Tiptree is perhaps best known for the nature reserve lying to its south, which consists of a 25-hectare heath and shrubland. Other attractions in the area include the renowned cuisine gallery of The Tiptree Jam Museum. Unfortunately, despite these draws, the town suffers from a poor level of healthcare, with exactly 20% of services found below standards.

This breaks down to 28 positively-rated services and 7 negatively-rated services, with 42 services remaining unrated.


7. Braintree

20.5% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Resting approximately halfway between Chelmsford and Colchester, Braintree is surrounded by a ring of smaller settlements. Despite its slightly odd name, the town boasts a population of 43,000, making it one of the larger settlements in Essex. Regardless, healthcare in the area is struggling, with 20.5% of healthcare services being found below necessary requirements.

With 9 services that have received a Requires Improvement rating, compared to just 34 services rated Good, residents in the town may be worried about their healthcare prospects.


6. Coggeshall & Kelvedon

21.1% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Two small towns in the heartland of Essex, Coggeshall and Kelvedon lie next to diverging major roads, but are connected by a smaller country lane that runs along the River Blackwater. There are limited numbers of medical services in this area, but of the ones that do exist, 21.1% of them have not passed their most recent CQC inspection.

This is particularly alarming due to the limited choice of healthcare in the area, with 9 out of 39 available services being rated badly.


5. Colchester

22.4% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

A deeply historic location, Colchester is sometimes referred to as Britain’s first city. It lies on the ruins of Camulodunum, an important garrison and settlement for the Romans during their occupation of the Isles. Despite its prestigious past, today’s Colchester suffers from serious problems, with healthcare being chief among them – a whopping 22.4% of healthcare services in the city were found to be lacking.

Colchester is in the unfortunate position of having the most Inadequate services in Essex, with a total of 9 locations being given the worst possible rating.


4. Witham

23.4% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Flanked by a number of small lakes, streams, and reservoirs, Witham is home to a wide variety of golf courses, trails, and nature reserves. It stands as yet another rural settlement that is performing poorly when it comes to healthcare, with 23.4% of medical services in the area being found below requirements.

That figure breaks down to 10 locations rated as Requires Improvement, and 1 practice rated Inadequate.


3. Grays

24.3% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Spanning across the north bank of the River Thames, Grays is a quaint settlement on the very outskirts of London. Together with its neighbouring settlements, such as Tilbury, Chadwell St Mary, and Chafford Hundred, the area’s healthcare is one of the worst in Essex, with 24.3% of services found to be lacking in key areas.

This translates to 37 poorly-rated practices, with a distinct lack of healthcare excellence, reporting just 1 Outstanding rating in the area.


2. Harlow

24.7% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Just north of Epping, Harlow is a mid-sized settlement that runs alongside the River Stort in the upper Stort Valley. As a planned community, Harlow was constructed with the future in mind, and has a similar design to other communities of the same type, such as Milton Keynes. Unfortunately, this forward thinking has not extended to healthcare, with 24.7% of services needing improvements.

Despite these shockingly bad healthcare results, residents may take comfort in the fact that 5 of their services are rated as Outstanding, meaning quality healthcare is not quite as rare as some other locations on this list.


1. Walton-on-the-Naze

25.0% Of Healthcare Services Require Improvement

Officially the worst place for healthcare in Essex, Walton-on-the-Naze gets its name from the peninsula jutting out to the north of the town, which hosts a nature reserve, a beach, and even a historical tower. The town itself is typical of the other coastal settlements in Essex, but in terms of healthcare, the area leaves much to be desired.

With every 1 in 4 services being below the CQC’s standards, an egregious 25% of Walton-on-the-Naze’s medical services need important improvements. That breaks down to 1 Outstanding rating, 20 Good ratings, 5 Requires Improvement ratings, and 2 Inadequate ratings.


How Vanguard Source Our Data

Vanguard is dedicated to remaining objective and being open and transparent in how we source our data, which is retrieved directly from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website. From there, we conduct a search across major settlements in Essex to determine the number of healthcare services that have earned Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate ratings in each area. We then calculate the percentage of poorly-rated services to get an impression of the overall quality of healthcare in the area.

Important to note is that in most areas, there are a number of services that have yet to be rated, so we exclude these from our calculations. In addition, we cast a 5-mile radius across each location to get the full picture of all their healthcare services. Due to the UK being a highly urban and suburban country, there will inevitably be some crossover between built-up areas. For example, Basildon University Hospital will serve residents of both Basildon and Stanford-le-Hope, and is therefore included in the radius of both towns.