News Date: Monday 10th December 2007
Tim meets Prime Minister to discuss campaign to save local hospitals
Last Wednesday, East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, Bognor Regis MP Nick Gibb and Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie met the Prime Minister in his private office in the House of Commons to discuss the reconfiguration of the hospital services in West Sussex. The meeting follows a request from Nick Gibb during Prime Minister's Question Time in October.
The three MPs pointed out to Gordon Brown that downgrading services at either St Richard's Hospital or Worthing Hospital was opposed by almost the entire population of West Sussex. They pointed out that the deficit that had led to the review process had been eliminated on an on-going basis and that both hospitals had nationally recognised reputations for clinical excellence.
The MPs also pointed out to the Prime Minister that the PCT was seeking to compromise with a fourth option, which is supported by the majority of consultants, but that this would still mean downgrading maternity services and paediatrics at one of the hospitals, again something that would be unacceptable to people in West Sussex.
The Prime Minister listened carefully to the arguments but pointed out that the consultation process, the decision by Sir Graham Catto and the subsequent appeals process would need to be followed before a final decision about the future of the hospitals could be made. The three MPs left the Prime Minister with their written submissions made to the West Sussex PCT consultation process.
"It was good to have the opportunity to present the views of the over one hundred thousands West Sussex residents who have signed the petition to save Worthing and Southlands Hospitals to the Prime Minister in person.
"We left Gordon Brown in no uncertainty about the flaws in the consultation process and the effect on West Sussex if we are left with only one major hospital. It was also helpful to have Department of Health officials present."
"We will continue to put pressure on the Prime Minister and his Ministers in the Department of Health to ensure that the health services in West Sussex are not downgraded in the disgraceful manner that is currently being proposed."