Future of Southlands Hospital – your questions to health chiefs

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AS the public consultation on the future of Southlands and Worthing hospitals continues Herald reporter Sheena Campbell met trust executives to put our readers’ questions to them.

Plans for the future of the hospitals include turning Southlands, in Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham, into an out-patient only centre, moving orthopaedic and elderly care services from Southlands to Worthing, building two new laminar flow theatres at Worthing and moving ophthalmology from Worthing to Southlands.

Herald readers, however, have expressed concerns about some aspects of the plans, particularly, the loss of hospital beds.

We put ten readers’ questions to Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust’s director of strategy, Nick Fox, and director of clinical services, Denise Foster.

Why do you think this is good for Southlands?

Mr Fox said the changes would give some “certainty” to the future of Southlands after a proposal to close the hospital three years ago.

“What I think this proposal is doing is really giving some clarity to the future of Southlands because there has been a question mark over it for a number of years,” he said.

“It will have investment and it will have a future.”

What would you say to readers who think this consultation is a “done deal” with changes already being implemented.

Mr Fox said: “If we did not think what we are proposing was right clearly we would not be going out to consultation but we genuinly want to have a discussion with the community explaning why we think it is right.

“It is a genuine consultation and the board will consider carefully the issues raised.”

He added all feedback would be independently assessed.

Would the trust consider building a community hospital on the site of the harness block to house the community beds rather than spreading them out over nursing homes?

Mr Fox said: “That is not a decision for us.

“At the public meeting Steven Pollock [from NHS West Sussex] committed to undertaking a review of the need for community beds.”

How many community beds will be in nursing homes and how many will be provided by care at home?

Miss Foster said the matter was not as straightforward as a certain amount of beds at home and a certain amount in a care home.

The 20 beds proposed for nursing homes will be for peeople who require long term care.

The next public meeting about the future of the hospitals will be held on Thursday, March 3, from 6.30pm, at the Shoreham Centre, in Pond Road, Shoreham.

The Herald will meet trust officials again in two weeks time to put more of your questions to them.

If you have a question you would like answered send it to sheena.campbell@shorehamherald.co.uk or write to Sheena Campbell, Southlands Questions, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.