News Date: Thursday 5th July 2007
Dear KWASH supporter,
At long last the consultation about the reconfiguration of hospitals in West Sussex has been published. The West Sussex PCT approved the consultation document at an emergency board meeting held at the Charmandean centre in Worthing on Monday June 25th. The consultation period will now last for 18 weeks until the 30th October.
The consultation document only contains 3 options, 2 of which would see Worthing & Southlands Hospital downgraded with the loss of Accident & Emergency, consultant led maternity, paediatrics etc. The PCT have completely ignored the many representations from MPs, councillors, clinical staff and patients that the consultation should include a fourth option whereby there should be at least 2 major hospitals in west Sussex retaining A&E and maternity services. This is a major betrayal of the people of West Sussex and does not bode well that this consultation is a genuine exercise to gauge the views and needs of local people.
We therefore have a major fight ahead of us and will need to marshal all our troops and work flat to make the PCT see sense.
What has happened so far?
- All Conservative MPs in West Sussex sent a letter to the Chairman of the PCT ahead of their board meeting asking that the consultation document be suspended until the requested 4th option had been included. The letter was co-signed by the chairman/mayor of every district/borough council in West Sussex, every council leader and most opposition leaders. To see a copy of the letter please visit www.kwash.org.uk
- However, the PCT ignored the letter and pushed through the consultation document anyway. Noticeably most non-executive directors of the PCT had sent their apologies. Peter Bottomley MP and members of the KWASH campaign were at the meeting in force.
- West Sussex MPs held a meeting at Westminster on June 25th and agreed to coordinate the work of the 3 hospital campaigns - KWASH, Save St Richards and save the PRH. They issued the following joint statement in response to the consultation exercise. (See below). They will be holding regular meetings every week to coordinate the 3 campaigns.
- On Friday June 29th West Sussex MPs met county council leaders at Chichester to discuss coordinating the resistance to the proposals across the whole of the County. The County Council will be setting up a new website to coordinate the 3 campaigns and the leader of the county council Henry Smith has written to the new Secretary of State for Health already asking for an urgent meeting. See the letter at www.kwash.org.uk
- Later on June 29th Tim Loughton, Peter Bottomley and Nick Herbert met consultants and KWASH campaign team members at Worthing Hospital to discuss the clinical response to the consultation exercise and coordinate future activities. We will have further meetings with consultants at all 3 of the hospitals involved. It was agreed that we are all in this together and will all be working to protect services at Worthing & Southlands, St Richard's and the Princess Royal at Haywards Heath.
- On Wednesday July 4th Sussex MPs secured a debate at Westminster on the reconfiguration of hospital services in Sussex putting pressure on the new minister. For the full Hansard record of what was said please visit http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070704/halltext/70704h0006.htm#07070444000004
- On July 6th Tim Loughton is due to see staff at Southlands Hospital together with WASH Chief Executive Stephen Cass and update them on the campaign.
What can you do?
- The KWASH campaign will be organising high profile events over the coming months so keep in touch with our website on www.kwash.org.uk This will culminate in a big rally to deliver our petition to Westminster. We have over 100,000 signatures so far but many more would help. If you have not signed up yet you can do so online or get hold of a petition form from one of the League of Friends shops at Worthing or Southlands or from Haverfield House in union Place Worthing.
- When you have had an opportunity to hear all the evidence make sure you write a personal letter to the PCT in response to the consultation. It would be very useful if you could copy your letters to the KWASH campaign c/o Haverfield House, 4 Union Place, Worthing, BN11 1LG, fax 01903 219755 or copy e-mail Tim Loughton MP on email@example.com or Peter Bottomley MP on firstname.lastname@example.org or your own MP. Please indicate whether you would like us to use the letter on our website or in speeches etc.
For people living in West Sussex responding formally to the consultation by:
- Completing the response form in the consultation document, available from the address below or by phoning 0800 707 6975 for a copy, sending it to the freepost addresses:
Creating an NHS Fit for the Future
West Sussex PCT
- Completing the online response form www.southeastcoastfff.nhs.uk
- E-mailing their comments to email@example.com
Make sure you go along to one of the public meetings that are being held. It is important that we have vociferous people there asking the right questions. If you would like to volunteer to be one of these questioners and would like further information please contact KWASH at firstname.lastname@example.org
The following meeting dates have been set:
Thursday 19 July - Clair Hall, Haywards Heath 12 noon-2pm
Friday 20 July - The Venue, Chichester 7pm-9pm
Tuesday 24 July - The Charmandean Centre, Worthing 7pm-9pm
Tuesday 28 August - Meridian Hall, East Grinstead 4pm-6pm
Wednesday 5 September - Weald Hall, Uckfield Civic Centre 3pm-5pm
Thursday 6 September - The Venue, Chichester 7pm-9pm
Wednesday 12 September - Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis
(known as The Hotham Arts Centre) 7pm-9pm
Thursday 13 September - Assembly Hall, Lewes Town Hall 7pm-9pm
Monday 17 September - Shoreham Centre 7pm-9pm
Thursday 20 September - The Windmill Theatre, Littlehampton 7pm-9pm
Wednesday 26 September - Clair Hall, Haywards Heath 7pm-9pm
Friday 28 September - Leigh Park Community Centre, Havant 6pm-8pm
Monday 1 October - Pulborough Village Hall 7pm-9pm
Thursday 4 October - Drill Hall, Horsham 7pm-9pm
Monday 8 October - The Hawth, Crawley 7pm-9pm
Wednesday 10 October - The Grange, Midhurst 7pm-9pm
Monday 15 October - The Pavillion Theatre, Worthing 7pm-9pm
Tuesday 18 October - Martlets Hall , Burgess Hill 7pm-9pm
The meeting venues will accommodate approximately 300 members of the public on a first come first served basis. The venues have disabled access and an induction loop. For further information visit www.southeastcoastfff.nhs.uk or call free phone 0800 707 6975.
- Make sure you are displaying a poster. Contact KWASH or go to one of the Friends' shops for A3, A4 or A5 versions as well as car stickers. Large weatherproof Correx posters are now being produced and we need prominent roadside sites for these to go up soon. Please let us know if you have a good site for one.
- We also need help with a lot of clerical and computer work. Again please let us know if you have some time to volunteer.
We need all the help we can get. This campaign and the threat we face just got serious. Please make sure you do your bit to save our hospitals.