NHS bosses lag behind in securing healthcare upgrades as new developments increase pressure

Councillor Ricky Bower
Councillor Ricky Bower

NHS bosses are lagging behind in identifying improvements to under-pressure health facilities in the face of approval of hundreds of new homes.

The body responsible for primary care across coastal West Sussex is still yet to identify mitigation schemes to cope with the impact of around 700 homes in Arun district.

The figure was obtained by this newspaper after Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group was criticised by Arun district councillors over its response to plans for 175 homes in Walberton.

Arun officers told the development control committee last month that despite contact with the CCG, ‘no tangible schemes’ to improve the area’s surgeries had been identified.

The CCG told this newspaper it was working to clear the backlog and still hoped to find a solution for the Walberton scheme.

A spokesman said: “The CCG has submitted responses for the development of 1,600 new homes to date. The others are still in development and will be looked at to make sure we secure healthcare contributions where appropriate.”

Arun councillors raised the issue after approving the Walberton plans on September 20.

Development control chairman Ricky Bower said it was ‘beyond belief’ Arun could not ‘get the NHS to do anything in Arun’.

The same criticism was levelled at the CCG in April when details of health contributions for 18 homes in Angmering did not arrive in time for the committee meeting.

The CCG spokesman said the Walberton application required an impact assessment for three surgeries, with a solution hoped to be found before the developer signed a legal agreement.

The CCG said it had received requests for healthcare feedback for 2,300 new home builds in Arun this year. Its responses for 1,600 homes to date has secured commitments of £1.9million.

Update: In yesterday’s version of the story (Tuesday, October 3) the CCG reported the homes figures were for the coastal West Sussex region as a whole. It has today confirmed the figures relate only to Arun district.