Council bosses say the NHS should be asking for more money to help resolve the “ludicrous” situation at Halstead’s overstretched doctor’s surgery.

Lynette Bowers-Flint believes NHS England should be asking developers building in the town to make bigger financial contributions towards healthcare.

She is also demanding answers over what is being done to ease problems at the Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery.

The call came during a planning committee meeting where proposals to build 25 new homes off Mount Hill, Halstead, were approved.

NHS England raised no objections to the plans and did not ask for a financial contribution to be made towards healthcare.

Mrs Bowers-Flint, who is head of Braintree Council’s planning department, said the NHS’s response was an example of the authority failing to secure funds for Halstead’s oversubscribed surgery.

She said: “The NHS contributions is one of the biggest frustrations this committee has.

“They normally ask for £20,000 to £30,000 (for each application) which is a drop in the ocean to a doctor’s surgery because it may pay for a nurse for a year which isn’t going to resolve any problems whatsoever. It doesn’t take rocket science to work out that one doctor’s surgery for the size of Halstead and the villages is absolutely ludicrous.

“We all need to get together and approach the NHS and say what are you doing about it and what’s happening about it because one doctor’s surgery for that amount of people is absolutely ludicrous.

“Our frustration is that they are not even asking for a penny towards the services that they have got.”

In response to Mrs Bowers-Flint, planning officer Neil Jones defended the NHS, stating the decision not to request funding from the developer would ensure larger sums of money could be secured from bigger developments being built elsewhere in Halstead.

He also suggested expanding the town’s surgery was the most likely option the NHS and Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group would explore.

He added: “I know it’s something the NHS is looking at in terms of capacity at the surgery.

“Our understanding is the thinking with the NHS is they are looking to concentrate services in a smaller number of larger surgeries.

“The chance of Halstead getting a second surgery would go against that.”

It is understood discussions are taking place about creating extra consultation rooms on the first floor of the Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery.

Rachel Pilsworth, deputy director of finance for NHS England Midlands and East (East) said: “NHS England regularly receives and responds to requests from Braintree Council about the impact of proposed housing developments on local health services.

“Any costs for health services must be justified in line with national planning guidelines.

“We use a formula, which takes the health needs of the population into consideration, to calculate how much additional funding would be needed for health services in the area.

“NHS England is working closely with NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery to improve capacity at the practice, and ensure that local people can access high quality primary care services.”