‘Doing nothing is not an option’ for Horsham’s GP services

Simon Dean CCG meeting (submitted).
Simon Dean CCG meeting (submitted).

A leading Horsham doctor has warned that ‘doing nothing is not an option’ if patients want to continue to access high quality GP services.

Last month the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) unveiled a scenario where three Horsham GP surgeries, Courtyard, Riverside and Orchard could be closed, with the practices themselves co-located to a new state-of-the-art medical centre in Broadbridge Heath. Under plans a town centre base could be retained for some patients.

Meanwhile the new health facility would be built when Horsham District Council redevelops Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.

Readers’ reaction to proposals has been overwhelmingly negative raising issues such as the difficulty of many patients being able to travel to Broadbridge Heath.

However writing in the County Times this week Simon Dean, Horsham GP and clinical director at the CCG, explained that ‘doing nothing is not an option’ if people wanted to ensure high quality GP services for the town.

He said it was important to stress that at this stage proposals were only suggestions for the way forward.

A survey on the ‘Five Communities Plan’ which covers the area of Horsham, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Crawley and East Grinstead, is now available online on the CCG’s website.

This follows three public meetings in Horsham, Crawley and Burgess Hill in July where almost 250 members of the public attended to hear plans on the future of NHS care in the area.

Answers to more than 60 questions asked during the meetings have also been posted online.

Feedback from the public meetings suggested that patients favoured plans to improve GP services and facilities, the idea of making better use of the community hospitals, better joined up services, and longer appointments for vulnerable patients.

Two further public meetings will be held in East Grinstead on September 23 and Haywards Heath on September 25.

Minesh Patel, lead GP for the CCG, said: “The Five Communities Plan shapes the way forward for our local NHS services in GP Practices and the community.

“We need your help to test our thinking and see if the proposals will work for you, your family and future populations for our five local communities. Please make some time and help us to shape the future of your NHS.”

The Five Communities Plan analyses the current and future needs of our population as it ages and continues to grow.

It also reviews current GP services and community care (including both Horsham and Crawley hospitals, as well as the care provided to you in your own home), but not acute care (at the larger hospitals), hospital mental health care, or specialist care such as cancer or stroke.

The plan also aims to strengthen community services to deal with the challenge of people living longer, leading to more demand on health and social care services.

To complete the survey or read the answers to the public’s questions visit www.5communitieswest sussex.nhs.uk

Those without access to the internet can call the CCG on 01293 600300 ext 3562 and they can supply printed copies of all documents.

See letters page 34