Volunteers call for commitment to Southlands

Southlands Hospital, where services include physiotherapy and X-ray S36051H10
Southlands Hospital, where services include physiotherapy and X-ray S36051H10

A COMMITMENT to continued delivery of health care services in Adur has been called for by volunteers.

Adur Voluntary Action (AVA) is asking Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to make the commitment to the district.

Concerns have been raised about Southlands Hospital in Shoreham, which currently provides many musculoskeletal (MSK) services, including physiotherapy, dermatology, occupational therapy, cardiac and stroke re-hab gyms, speech and language therapy and clinical departments.

Chief officer Adrian Barritt said: “There are other facilities available at Southlands that the local community depend on. These include imaging (X-ray), pathology, gynaecology service, day surgery, outpatients and an antenatal clinic. There are also plans for an ophthalmology clinic.”

The AVA board agreed at a meeting last week to raise the issue directly with the CCG.

Mr Barritt said members were concerned the CCG proposal to contract out the MSK services to a new social enterprise company, formed jointly by Central Surrey Health and BUPA, would spell the beginning of the end for Southlands’ much-valued services.

The proposal is currently under an internal review by independent consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers, looking at the possible impacts on existing services.

Mr Barritt said: “BUPA is a private company and provident association. Central Surrey Health provides community health services in Surrey. While these have stated that services will continue to be delivered in the existing localities, this needs to be a lot tighter.

“There is a risk that pressure to deliver a profitable contract will lead to cuts in local availability of services and local people having to travel much further to receive care.

“The transport congestion and cost of travel along coastal West Sussex mean that it is common sense, if we are putting the users first, to provide services as locally as is possible.”

AVA is also asking for clear evidence that the full requirements of the Public Services (Social Value) Act were fully considered at the pre-procurement stage.

This should include the wider impact upon the community, potential transport and environmental costs incurred by patients, the social value and community engagement value of delivery of health care by organisations that are rooted in and accountable to their communities.

“The eventual contract must contain conditions that ensure that Adur, with over 60,000 residents, has continued local access to these vital health services for the foreseeable future,” added Mr Barritt.

“Every local person is, knows or will be an NHS service user. The government believes in localism, so what better way for the Clinical Commissioning Group to demonstrate this commitment than by responding to these very reasonable wishes of our community?”