Relocation of Littlehampton Health Centre’s special dental care service proposed

Littlehampton Health Centre
Littlehampton Health Centre

Special dental care services at Littlehampton Health Centre could be relocated with patients having to travel to either Chichester or Worthing instead.

The dental clinic has a current caseload of 92 patients who either have special needs or have difficulty accessing general services.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which provides the service, has launched a consultation with patients, carers, staff and other stakeholders.

According to a consultation paper the existing location is ‘not fit for purpose’ due to the layout of the accommodation and space available and does not comply with health and safety regulations.

The service provides a dental clinic one day a week which the NHS trust says ‘can be inflexible for patients and restricts choice’.

There have also been difficulties in providing a therapy service for more than a year due to long-term sickness.

One of the proposed options is to combine clinics with those already provided from Worthing Central Clinical and Jubilee Dental Centre in Chichester, which are both open from Monday to Friday and offer access to a wider multidisciplinary team of professionals.

The paper says: “These clinics can best meet wider patient need.”

It is anticipated that any relocation of the dental service would take place early in 2019.

The proposals are due to be scrutinised by West Sussex’s Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee on Thursday (November 15).

James Walsh, vice-chairman of HASC, said: “This is a very valuable and much needed local facility. By definition it is for 100 people with special needs, who may have great difficulty getting to and from Worthing or Chichester by bus and train, with two-hour round trips if you’re lucky.

“Unfortunately it is part of a growing pattern of removing local health care from Littlehampton, which has a rapidly expanding population, and needs improved local facilities.

“I would hope and expect any such move to be temporary, and replaced within the long awaited new health care hub at the Littlehampton Hospital site.”

According to Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust the service is for patients with specific health and social care issues including alcohol and drug misuse, challenging behaviour/severe management difficulties, looked after children and those on the child protection register, dental phobias, learning disabilities, medical problems, a mental health diagnosis, physical disabilities, social problems, travellers or those undergoing rehabilitation.

For more information on the proposals, the consultation paper is available on the county council’s website.