Doctors and nurses are leaving a hospital because staff and patients have lost confidence in how it is being run, it is claimed.

More than a dozen workers are understood to have left Braintree Community Hospital in recent weeks with the Courtauld ward set to lose its inpatient beds and a controversial Home First scheme set to be implemented.

A spokesman for the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There have been a number of staff who have recently retired, taken other opportunities or left through personal choice.”

Agency staff have had to be called in to fill gaps. Patients have also been moved due to the staffing problems.

The spokesman said: “Sometimes staffing and the use of beds will be flexed across our community hospitals to respond to demand within the whole system – this means that sometimes there are more staff or beds being used at St Peters and sometimes more at Braintree or Halstead.”

Professor Christopher Green, chairman of the Friends of Braintree Community Hospital, said members of the group had serious concerns about the future direction of the hospital.

He said: “Of all of the five regimes we have had in charge of the hospital since it opened, this current one is the worst.

“I am not talking about the services for patients, I am talking about the management.

“I do not believe Mid Essex Hospitals Trust is a competent manager of the hospital at the moment. I do not think they, and other parties, have shown enough regard to the hospital - it seems to be a sideshow and we cannot get our questions answered.

“I think they have got themselves boxed in with these Home First plans and I am not sure how they will get out of the situation.”

Under the Home First proposals, beds in the Courtauld Ward at the Chadwick Drive hospital will be used for orthopaedic patients rather than inpatients.

According to recent figures more than 500 patients have been waiting more than 18-weeks for orthopaedic surgeries at Broomfield Hospital and the idea is more can be treated in Braintree.

The plan is inpatients will instead be moved to hospitals in Maldon or Halstead, where there is little to no space anyway, into care homes or even back to their own homes with medical care provided there instead, under what is known as Home First.

A spokesman for the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group insisted the plans were still “very much in the development phase”

He said: “We understand that change can bring anxiety and that people have concerns.

“We have captured the key themes of feedback we received during our engagement on plans for Home First and orthopaedics.”

A meeting was due to take place today about the future of hospitals in south and mid Essex with further meetings later this month and in February.