MP challenges lack of hospital funding

W13001H13-Hunt-  W13024H13-Hunt  210313  LP''Jeremy Hunt. Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, visits Worthing Hospital to officially open a new clinical block.  Pictured is Tim Loughton MP.

W13001H13-Hunt- W13024H13-Hunt 210313 LP''Jeremy Hunt. Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, visits Worthing Hospital to officially open a new clinical block. Pictured is Tim Loughton MP.

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EAST Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton has vowed to challenge why Worthing Hospital has failed to qualify for winter pressures funding.

The Winter Pressures funding, allocated by the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt earlier this month, ensures hospitals are properly prepared for colder weather during the winter months.

But Worthing Hospital was not named amongst the 53 trusts to receive a share of the £250 million funding.

Mr Loughton raised the matter in the House of Commons last week.

He said: “The Secretary of State knows Worthing hospital well - he has rolled his sleeves up there. When I went there a few weeks ago, I was told that the average age of patients in the hospital, stripping out maternity, is 85, yet we have qualified for no winter pressures money and we have a diminishing number of community hospital beds.

“Will Mr Hunt look into this anomaly, as he well knows the specific pressures we have on the south coast?”

Mr Hunt said: “I know that there is a large elderly population in Worthing. I thought it was an excellent hospital with a fantastic atmosphere when I went and did part of a shift there.”

Mr Loughton replied: “I shall continue to raise this problem with the Department for Health until Worthing gets the recognition it requires for its unique demographic situation and the funding necessary to ensure the highest level of care for each and every patient.

“The management at Worthing Hospital has done well to keep the finances on an even keel in an extremely challenging environment and with some very significant rises of inpatient admissions. However, this can only get more serious with our ageing population.”

Deputy chief executive Jane Farrell said: “We were disappointed not to be considered for this extra support.

“This winter we are again expecting to see large numbers of patients, and a growing proportion of those patients are likely to be either very elderly, very frail, or both.

“We are working with our GP commissioners and partners in primary and social care to ensure the correct levels of funding are available and we hope to finalise these plans in the next couple of weeks.”