CONCERNS have been raised over “profound” changes at Southlands Hospital.
The East Worthing and Shoreham Labour Party this week said it was very concerned about changes to the hospital in Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham.
Assistant secretary Ann Saunders said: “East Worthing and Shoreham Labour Party urges the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust to retain in-patient beds at Southlands Hospital and the ophthalmic services at Worthing Hospital.”
She urged people to attend public meetings and “speak up” for services.
Proposed changes to the hospitals include moving all in-patient services from Southlands to Worthing, moving ophthalmology from Worthing to Southlands, building two new laminar flow theatres at Worthing and closing the harness block at Southlands.
Mrs Saunders described the changes as “profound”.
“The beds are used for orthopaedic patients and for patient recuperating and getting back on their feet after surgery at Worthing Hospital.
“If these beds are lost, it is likely that bed blocking at the major hospital will increase, leading to longer waiting lists.”
She said the party was also concerned about the ophthalmic surgery move.
“This means if you arrive at Worthing A&E with an eye injury, you will be redirected to St Richard’s, a journey of around an extra 20 miles.”
A public consultation on the future of services is currently taking place.
It will run until Friday, April 29. Plans can be viewed at www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk
Speaking to the Herald, trust medical director Dr Phillip Barnes said: “The main aims for the consultation itself are to share our plan for the redesign of services with the public to explain to them that they are really heavily focused on trying to improve quality and safety of services.
“At the same time, we want to hear back from the public with any improvements on the plans.
“We want to absolutely stress that Southlands remains in our plans.”
Southlands currently has 120 acute beds.
Under the proposals, 60 new acute beds will provided at Worthing.
A further 69 to 102 beds will be provided by “efficiencies”, community beds and care at home.
The majority of community beds would be provided in nursing homes, said Dr Katie Armstrong, chairman of the West Sussex GP Federation, at a public meeting at Southlands Hospital.
Residents and patients at the meeting, though, suggested the community beds could be provided at Southlands when in-patient services moved.
Make your opinion matter
As well as submitting views online, residents and patients can have their say by calling 01903 285222, ext 4038, by noon on 29 April.
Alternatively, views can be sent to: Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust Headquarters, Worthing Hospital, Lyndhurst Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 2DH.
Public meetings on the future of the hospitals will take place on Thursday, March 3, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at the Shoreham Centre, in Pond Road, Shoreham, and on Tuesday, March 22, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at Southwick Community Centre, in Southwick Street, Southwick.
A meeting will also take place at Worthing Hospital from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Tuesday, March 15.
Your questions to the executives
THE Herald will be meeting trust executives throughout the consultation to put readers’ questions about the changes to them.
Any questions raised by readers on our Your Views page, or sent directly to our reporter, Sheena Campbell, will be put to the executives.
Any questions can be sent to Shoreham Letters, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA, or to Sheena Campbell, Southlands Questions, at the same address. Alternatively, views can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com