News Date: Tuesday 7th August 2007
PCT consultation on reconfiguration of West Sussex hospitals going off the rails already
Dear KWASH supporter,
At the end of June the West Sussex Primary Care Trust at last published its long awaited consultation document into the reconfiguration of local hospitals.
You may remember that despite continued pressure from MPs and clinical staff and patients, the PCT had refused to include in the document a fourth option whereby two major hospitals in West Sussex would keep their A&E, maternity and other vital units. As it stands two of the current three options would see Worthing & Southlands hospitals stripped of these services and downgraded to local general hospital status with most patients being forced to go to the Royal Sussex County at Brighton.
Subsequently the public meetings held by the PCT as part of the consultation have been very stormy affairs. On July 24th 400 people packed into the Charmandean Centre with almost as many locked outside. This is despite warnings from Peter Bottomley and I that the Charmandean Centre would not be big enough and the meeting should be moved to the Pavilion Theatre or Assembly Rooms.
Now, less than a month after the consultation began:
- Chairman of the PCT David Taylor has resigned 'for personal reasons'
- The County Council Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee has asked the Health Secretary to suspend the consultation process as 'inadequate and flawed'
- Copies of the consultation document are still not widely available and the consultation period has had to be extended to November 14th
West Sussex MPs and County Council leaders are still working hard together to save our hospitals and a website has been created to co-ordinate all three campaigns: www.fightforthefuture.org.uk KWASH is also working closely with the campaign to save the Princess Royal hospital.
On July 4th MPs secured a debate at Westminster which highlighted the campaigns and put pressure on the new Minister. Please visit www.kwash.org.uk to read the full text of the debate.
The PCT would like to see us pitch Chichester hospital against Worthing & Southlands but there is no advantage to people in West Sussex if they lose or downgrade either hospital. I do not understand how the PCT have completely failed to listen to the representations from MPs, our constituents and consultants that we need and deserve a two major hospital option in the consultation. We have been presented with a Hobson's choice.
A rural county the size of West Sussex, with 760,000 residents and a growing population needs two major hospitals. East Sussex only has a population of 250,000 and yet is retaining both Eastbourne and the Conquest hospitals. We are sacrificing 2 perfectly good, cost effective and well liked hospitals to prop up Brighton which has an inferior track record on financial management, waiting times, hospital infections and accessibility.
Under this consultation document it is likely that the 63,000 A&E attendees from Worthing and Adur will be expected to crawl along the A27 to Brighton or Chichester or go north to Surrey. Lives will be lost and patient care will inevitably suffer.
These proposals represent an attack on the NHS in West Sussex and dishonestly the PCT is doing the dirty work of the Health Secretary by dressing up cost cutting measures as 'modernisation'. We will continue fighting these crazy proposals to the bitter end.
- Do you want to go to Brighton for Accident & Emergency?
- Do you want to see maternity, paediatrics and other vital services transferred to Brighton?
- Are you happy with ?230m of West Sussex health money and asset sales going out of our county to prop up Brighton hospitals?
- Do you think West Sussex with 762,000 people can cope with just one major hospital, which could be in Chichester?
If you answered NO then what are you doing about it? KWASH is working hard with MPs, councillors and clinicians to prevent this disaster but we need:
PEOPLE POWER TO MAKE THE PRIMARY CARE TRUST SEE SENSE.
Final decisions are unlikely to be made before well into 2008 so we need all the help we can to fight these crazy proposals to the bitter end.
There is everything to play for
What can you do?
Log on to www.kwash.org.uk - to keep in touch with KWASH events and please sign the petition if you're not one of the 100,000 people who already have.
Offer help at firstname.lastname@example.org
or c/o 4 Union Place, Worthing. BN11 1LG
Display this leaflet or a larger poster or car sticker
Write to the PCT at: Freepost SEA 1064, The Causeway, Worthing, BN12 6ZZ with your personal reasons for saving Worthing & Southlands Hospitals. Copy in KWASH or your MP so we can use your comments.
Get your GP to speak our against the downgrading
Attend the public meetings (Shoreham September 17th/ Worthing October 16th) and keep updated via the website ww.kwash.org.uk