THE Conservative spokesman for health in Thurrock has called on the council to be a “critical friend” of Basildon Hospital to assist the new management team with moving the hospital forward.

The hospital faces a fine of £100,000 after admitting it failed to protect patients from the fatal legionella virus.

Cllr Shane Hebb said: “It is beyond comprehension that a multimillion-pound hospital failed to have fit-for-purpose control measures in place to combat the growth of legionella bacteria.

“I cannot believe it has only just had to admit liability after a decade long matter.

“We must now move forward in a new direction of working with the new hospital leadership team, evolving our relationship to that of a ‘critical friend’ to assist them managing their failures, while we do our bit to reduce hospitalisation rates by improving home assistance packages, policing the root causes of unplanned hospitalisations and ensuring primary care can meet its demands.”