Doctors challenged on future of South Downs A&E services

A&E, St Richard's Hospital '''Picture by Louise Adams C140028-2 Chi St Richard's Hospital ENGSUS00120140113154222

A&E, St Richard's Hospital '''Picture by Louise Adams C140028-2 Chi St Richard's Hospital ENGSUS00120140113154222

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Doctors were challenged on the future of A&E services serving the South Downs at a ‘crunch meeting’ yesterday (Thursday October 2).

West Sussex Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC), which scrutinises proposals for local changes within the NHS, sought assurances from Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about the impact of its decision to award a contract for the delivery of new musculoskeletal(MSK) services.

Last month CCG announced it was awarding the £235 million MSK contract to BUPA CSH instead of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This has caused concern about the future of A&E services at Worthing and Chichester hospitals which are operated by the trust.

Katie Armstrong, chief executive of the CCG, told the committee that the decision was in the best interest of patients and there is no plan for this change to impact on A&E or trauma services.

At what was billed as a ‘crunch meeting’ beforehand representatives from the Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust suggested to HASC that the change would have a negative impact on their services.

As a result HASC members were then keen to see that the impact of the new MSK service on local trauma services and other health services had been taken into account and fully considered.

The committee asked the CCG to consider all of the issues which have been raised in the plans for the new service.

This is because CCG have stated that a contract would not be signed until local secondary care (hospital) division had been assured.

Margaret Evans, chairman of HASC, said: “We need to be sure that implementation of the new MSK service improves services and outcomes for patients, without being at the expense of other key services.”

She added: “We have asked the CCG to come to our next meeting to provide further reassurances and have reminded them that they will need to consult the committee if it becomes clear that there will be a substantial change to other health services in the area. If necessary, we will convene a special meeting to make sure this happens at the right time.”

Musculoskeletal services covers conditions which affect muscles, joints and bones.

This can range from orthopaedic surgery to the community services of pain management and physiotherapy.

The next meeting of West Sussex Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee will be on Thursday November 13 at 10.30am in County Hall in Chichester.

What do you think of the decision to award the £235m contract to BUPA CSH? Comment below or email the newsdesk.