Doctors and health bosses have been accused of contributing to the demise of Braintree Community Hospital by failing to refer patients there.

Last month, Serco, which has managed the hospital in Chadwick Drive since 2011, revealed its intention to cut short its contract with Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) by three months.

It said financial results for the year to December 31 would show an operating loss of £2million, while it would also have to cover estimated future losses of £3million.

Chris Green, chairman of the Friends of Braintree Community Hospital, said there simply weren’t enough patients coming through the door.

But would-be patients claim GPs and health bosses are to blame and are not referring people to the hospital.

Retired microbiologist Bill Devenish, 65, claims he has twice been referred elsewhere for hernia operations.

He said: “I’ve got absolutely nothing against my GP, he’s a wonderful GP, but for some reason he’s just not referring to Braintree.

“Why are they not doing it? Have they got a hidden agenda? I don’t know."

A spokesman for Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: "The process by which patients choose where to receive healthcare procedures remains the same.

"Patients are referred by their GP to a Central Referral Service (CRS), which offers patients all the treatment and procedure options available to them; it is then for the patient to decide.

"This approach ensures that patient choice can be accommodated, demand can be managed and patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time."