News Date: Thursday 4th October 2007
KWASH UPDATE - 4th October 2007
There is now only a month and a half to go before the end of the West Sussex Primary Care Trust's Fit for the Future public consultation and it is absolutely vital that everyone gets their objections to the PCT by November 14.
I expect many if not most of you will have been keeping up to date with the ongoing Keep Worthing and Southlands Hospitals (KWASH) campaign. So many of you have written, emailed, telephoned, signed the petition, marched and attended one of the many public meetings that the PCT can be in no doubt as to the strength of feeling there is out there.
The consultation document only contains 3 options, 2 of which would see Worthing & Southlands Hospital downgraded with the loss vital services including consultant-led emergency and maternity services, paediatrics and intensive care. This is just wrong and I need each and every person out there to sign the petition at www.kwash.org.uk and write to the PCT at NHS Fit for the Future, FREEPOST SEA1064, West Sussex PCT The Causeway Goring-by-Sea, Worthing West Sussex BN12 6ZZ
Make no mistake. What is being proposed are big cuts to your local health service. If Worthing is downgraded you will have to travel further for treatment in an emergency. If the downgrading goes ahead and you or a member of your family is having a baby you may have to travel to a new baby factory in Brighton. The Worthing maternity unit is one of the best and safest in the country - to even think about downgrading it is utter madness.
The PCT and the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority also say the length of time it takes to for an ambulance to get you to hospital in an emergency does not make a difference to whether you live or die. That is clearly not true - a recent study shows that ambulance travel times are directly linked to chances of survival.
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.
There are also serious doubts amongst doctors and other clinicians as to whether the new proposals are safe. The PCT claims it has the support of doctors for their downgrading plans. This is simply not true.
The consultants at Worthing Hospital are against the plans and so far 48 out of 50 GPs who have responded to a survey run by KWASH say they are against the plans as well. We have challenged the PCT to say which clinicians support the cuts. So far they cannot name a single independent clinician.
The KWASH campaign will continue to battle against these cuts but we need your help. Please don't leave it to others, sign the petition, respond to the consultation. There will be a big rally and public meeting on Monday 15 October. Please support us and check this website and the local press for details.