‘Difficult choices’ may have to be taken on Horsham Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit - according to the new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Steve Williams, an external consultant, is looking at Horsham Hospital in Hurst Road, and will finish a report for the Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG by July. The CCG, a consortium led by GPs, took over commissioning health services from the Primary Care Trust in April.
He and members of the CCG reported to Horsham District Council’s Health Provision Working Group on Thursday June 6 on their future vision and strategy for the hospital.
Answering a question on the Minor Injuries Unit Alison Hempstead, head of planning and governance for both the Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG and Crawley CCG, said: “When you are looking at minor injuries in any health economy you have to look at what changes you are making. What we have is a compelling vision about how care can be different.
“The Urgent Treatment Centre [in Crawley] is 24/7. How much money are we spending on a service that’s the same but is slightly less?”
She added: “These are difficult choices that we need to make in the context of all the facts.
“There’s so much more we could do with some elements of the money.”
However after the meeting a spokesperson for the CCG said that comments regarding money were referring to the possibility of extending the opening hours and not to current spending on either Crawley or Horsham Hospitals, as the Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG had agreed an annual budget for 2013/14.
It added that the review of local NHS care, including Horsham Hospital, would be in the context of improving services for the future, aligning NHS services to the needs of the area’s population.
If it were to extend opening hours it said that it would have to justify why the money was not being spent on something else.
Mr Williams said they were awaiting utilisation data from Horsham Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit.
He added: “The NHS is and always will be a system of tradeoffs, because the NHS will never meet the entire needs in the way that everyone would like it.”
Currently it is open 9-5pm Monday to Friday and is closed on weekends.
Mr Williams drew up a similar assessment of Crawley Hospital earlier this year.
When he is finished the work he said that the two CCGs would need to talk to each other and then get a mandate from their local communities for the next phase of work.
Simon Dean, the CCG’s locality chair for Horsham, added: “The central pillar to our existence is public engagement.”
Mr Williams said: “The quality of the estate is generally good, better than Crawley and that’s because parts of Horsham Hospital are younger. Like many hospitals it has developed slightly artificially over time.”
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