Pensioners question MP on new hospital

CPAG meeting with Henry Smith JPCO
CPAG meeting with Henry Smith JPCO

The need for a new hospital was high on the agenda at a meeting of the Crawley Pensioners’ Active Group on Wednesday (May 15).

The group, which meets every three weeks, put questions to Crawley MP Henry Smith at the meeting in Montefiore Hall in Three Bridges.

One resident said: “Crawley is expanding all of the time. It needs a new hospital. What kind of pressure can you put on them for another hospital?”

Mr Smith said: “I still think Crawley is the natural centre for an acute hospital for our area. East Surrey Hospital covers an area that stretches as far as Billingshurst. We need a hospital in Crawley and I think Pease Pottage is the ideal location. I think the biggest mistake in the new town’s history was the removal of A&E and maternity at Crawley Hospital. Once services have gone, getting them back is particularly challenging.

“But we do have an opportunity with the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group. Health decisions about Crawley are now being made by people from Crawley. There are aims to bring services back to Crawley hospital. I especially want to see maternity returned to Crawley, I think it is incredible and unsatisfactory that young mum’s are going as far as the Princess Royal Hospital (Haywards Heath).”

Another person asked if the town was ever likely to see a new hospital built. Mr Smith said: “I do think eventually there will be a hospital. But I don’t think we will be getting a hospital in the short term. I think we are better placed to campaign for services to come back.

“There have been advancements in medical treatment and many more services can be offered in GP surgeries.”

A pensioner pointed out how A&Es were in trouble nationally and said GP surgeries should be staying open for longer.

Mr Smith said: “Many people are using A&E because they cannot get an appointment with their GP. GPs have a very responsible job, but they need to get out of this 9 to 5 mentality because health care is around the clock. I think we need more out of hours provision.”

The group also spoke about immigration, the economy, bedroom tax, energy prices and crime.