News Date: Thursday 1st March 2007
MP comments on SHA announcement
This week the Strategic Health Authority announced that the consultation document which will detail the PCT's latest thinking about how hospital services in the county will be reconfigured will not now be published until after the local government elections which takes place on May 3rd.
The excuse given is that the Chairmen of the Council Health Overview & Scrutiny Committees need more time to prepare. The timing will also apply to Brighton & Hove City consultation. However, there is no such delay for proposals for east Sussex where the consultation documents are likely to be published on or around March 12th.
This announcement comes as no surprise as we have long anticipated that the bad news contained in the consultation exercise will be politically sensitive and that could affect elections for Brighton & Hove City Council in particular. However, it does mean that the uncertainty for staff and patients will drag on longer.
East Worthing & Shoreham MP Tim Loughton commented:
"We have been waiting since August for this document and the start of the formal consultation exercise and now it is going to be at least a couple of months more waiting.
"This is a very cynical ploy influenced by political considerations when the only thing of importance to local users of the hospital is what is best for their health series and their health. Now we will have the absurd situation of knowing what is going to be proposed in East Sussex which will impact on Brighton hospitals but not knowing what is going to happen in West Sussex which will also impact on Brighton hospitals. We need to see all the proposals together because they are interlinked.
"It also shows that the PCT are continuing to have problems making their figures add up and their ridiculous proposals will just not stack up. It is vital that the KWASH campaign keeps up the pressure and we will revisit the dates of some of our forthcoming events to tie in with the likely new timetable.
"We will publish further news shortly about changes to the timing of the Easter Saturday party in the park event and will keep supporters abreast of what further action needs to be taken by them. We are grateful for everyone's continued patience."
Note to Editor:
1. Tomorrow West Sussex MPs are meeting West Sussex PCT in Chichester and may have further news to report after that meeting.