Letters: Concern for Worthing Hospital’s A&E and orthopaedic services continues to grow

Worthing Hospital's A&E department
Worthing Hospital's A&E department

We both very strongly disagree that the contract for MSK services at Worthing Hospital should have been taken over by BUPA SCH Ltd.

We are both in our eighties and have live in Worthing over 80 years and we feel these services should still be run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has been run very very satisfactorily for our needs. No privatisation please.

William and Beryl Arnold

Singleton Crescent


I am a married mum of two boys. My second son was born in Worthing. I have had to use the A&E department three times now and I am saddened to hear of its possible closure.

Living in Southwick, driving to Brighton or Chichester will not help me in an emergency.

I am happy for you to use me as an example or to sign a petition.


Heidi Goodall-Smith

Hill farm way


I am at one with Dr. Walsh over the financial penalties for the West Sussex NHS Hospitals by involving BUPA in medical treatments.

They are solely concerned with profits – not patient welfare.

Many years ago I chose to go privately to a Harley Street specialist about some foot problems. On arrival his first words were, “Have you private medical insurance - BUPA, etc.?”

This course of action, imposed by Armstrong, is unacceptable.

Eric Harvey

Shirley Close


Why has the CCG decided to award the MSK contract to BUPA if not to save money? This will not enhance the service delivery but create a disjointed service without a clear through-flow and will be based upon profit before care. There is also the possibility that the MSK service will be sited outside of Worthing Hospital which will cause further costs to be incurred through the greater need of ambulance/supported transport needs for patients - whose budget will meet these additional costs including the necessary personnel?

Ellie Coyle

Western Row


I am writing with genuine concern about the recent £235m award for musculoskeletal services in West Sussex. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 has led to a programmes of privatisation across the NHS. Now the repercussions of this act, which nobody voted for, are hitting West Sussex and with potentially devastating consequences.

There is real concern from both the Trust and local people as to how this contract might impact Worthing, Southlands and Chichester Hospitals. There are inevitably going to be significant knock-on effects on other hospital-based NHS services in our area that do not appear to have been considered. These include A&E, maternity services and physiotherapy in the above hospitals.

From a personal communication I understand that the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC) are discussing this issue informally this week following which they will consider whether any further formal scrutiny needs to be carried out by HASC. I and others have written to the Clinical Commissioning Group to confirm whether an impact assessment has been made regarding emergency care and maternity services and to make this public as soon as possible. Until it is there will be continued anxiety from people across West Sussex regarding what is going to happen to their hospital services.

Dr Carl Walker

National Health Action Party candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham

As the ex-chairman of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, I fail to understand why such a decision has been made.

It seems to me that the Coastal West Sussex Commissioning Group have simply not thought through the implications of such a decision and the impact this will have on other essential services such as accident and emergency care supplied by the hospital Trust.

There are a number of unanswered questions such as, how will Western Sussex Hospitals be able to continue to run emergency trauma and orthopaedic services within the Trust, services that usually run at a loss but are made possible by the lucrative delivery of MSK services?

What happens if a procedure being undertaken by BUPA causes life threatening complications, are these patients then treated by BUPA, I doubt it, they will be treated by Western Sussex Hospitals usually at a huge cost. This then raises the point about patient safety. I personally would wish to be treated at a centre that can provide total care, ie Western Sussex Hospitals.

The above points clearly illustrate the lack of joined up thinking by the Coastal West Sussex Commissioning Group and the decision needs to be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.

Knowing the commitment, professionalism and compassion that is demonstrated by the staff at Western Sussex Hospitals, this decision is clearly inappropriate.

As a taxpayer and a patient please reconsider.

Hywel Evans

Hurstwood House


Dear Doctors

I am writing to you as a Governor for the Foundation Hospital Trust. I am also a patient of the Practice who had a complex traumatic wrist fracture three years ago and was treated as an emergency in Worthing hospital.

You will be aware that the CCG announced ten days ago that they were letting a contract for all elective MSK services to a private, untested, and unfamiliar partnership arrangement between BUPA and Central Surrey Health at an alleged, dubious saving of £4 million over five years on approximately £250 million worth of expenditure. Has the CCG really thought this through?

Why? This Partnership has no track record, no hospital, and no recognised national quality standards. It will have to sub-contract with a hospital or hospitals to provide the surgery.

Where? Our local hospital, which bid for the contract, and whose MSK performance has been described as an ‘exemplar of good practice’ by an independent national authority,* will have had its MSK infrastructure destroyed. So where will this surgery be carried out? And what will happen to the many many people who have slips and trips and fracture joints? Where will they go for treatment and who will be there to treat them? This will be especially important for our older population who are recognised routinely as being at greater risk; and how will the leaps in demand be managed during winter frosts?

Have the training implications of this proposed action been considered? Aspiring orthopaedic surgeons learn their trade and acquire experience under the supervision of more senior colleagues on the relatively more straightforward planned elective planned procedures. Where is this training now to be available?

The CCG claims to have consulted. With whom and how? What were the questions? We all know it is very easy to ask the questions to get the answers one wants. Reducing cost and improving quality for a small group of profitable interventions is a no brainer; but has the impact on the wider health economy been described? What about the effect on the non­elective work – the people who sustain serious traumatic injuries and need emergency care?

I would urge you and all your partners to think through very carefully the implications of this proposed action and do all in your power to oppose it before it is too late. The consequences for your patients could be catastrophic. To proceed would be irresponsible and not in the best interests of anyone. There is no need to do it!

I’d be happy to come and talk to you further.

Margaret Bamford

Fox Lea


May I congratulate the Worthing Herald on highlighting the real threat to local hospital services that the outsourcing of the musculoskeletal services makes. The promises and assurances made by the Clinical Commissioning Group do not stand up to scrutiny and I would like to raise the following observations.

1. Commissioners cannot guarantee A&E services if they continue to strip the hospital of its funding base which helps to support A&E, to attract staff, and to provide training opportunities

2. The Coastal Commissioning Group is in the red and has to make major savings over the next 4 years so any guarantees aren’t worth anything unless they extend to a secure funding base for the hospital

3. The Better Care Fund expects a significant reduction in hospital activity and funding so again it is foolish to offer false reassurance.

4. BUPA has no hospitals in WS so will have to sub contract; CSH as a social enterprise company looks good but has no proven track record in Sussex and of course at the end of the contract period everybody has to go through the while process again with time money and energy being spent on the contracting process.

Please maintain the pressure on the CCG to reverse this terrible decision.

Tom Wye

Ashacre Lane