QUESTIONS over the future of health provision in the Shoreham area are to be raised by campaigners in the town.
Members of Sussex Defend the NHS are planning to quiz the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group at its meeting in Lancing on Wednesday.
Steve Guy, of Southview Road, Southwick, said: “Many people will not know that this is the body that is responsible for making decisions on healthcare provision for the West Sussex area.
“There are some extremely worrying changes in the pipeline, not least the threat to contract out both musculoskeletal and dermatology services without any meaningful consultation on the issue.”
The meeting, at Lancing Parish Hall, includes ‘an interactive market place’ at 4.30pm, where people can discuss issues and learn more about the NHS locally. The formal meeting begins at 6.30pm, following public question time at 6pm.
Mr Guy pointed out: “Other items that will figure on the agenda are the future of Southlands, an issue that the CCG would rather did not keep appearing on the agenda.”
He said the campaign group was also concerned about the loss of in-patient beds at the Shoreham hospital and the lack of community hospital beds in the eastern-most part of the county, ‘making it reliant on Salvington and Littlehampton for such provision’.
Mr Guy said: “There are huge question marks over the way that healthcare is being administered, not just in West Sussex but all over the country, and it is time that NHS users took the opportunity that this meeting presents to question those making decisions on our behalf.”
The campaign group says since the loss of in-patient beds at Southlands Hospital, in Upper Shoreham Road, there has been no provision in the town for local people discharged from Worthing Hospital or St Richard’s in Chichester who are not able to go home or to a nursing home.
Heather Duffield, of Downsway, Shoreham, said: “We need, please, a community hospital with beds, as in other areas of Coastal West Sussex.
“There is already a loss of 22 beds with the transfer from Southlands to Worthing and when the emergency floor in Worthing Hospital is complete, another 20 beds. Some people with operations, etc., need a bed.”
She said patients from the Shoreham area shouldn’t have to go to community hospitals in Worthing and Littlehampton, which is the nearest provision, because of the costs of travel for both patients and visitors.
“Some GPs seem to consider a 20-mile transfer to a community hospital is OK. Would they mind it happening to them?”