Fresh review?

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Members of the Save Southlands group presented the following statement to the Western Sussex NHS Hospitals Trust board of governors on Thursday:-

In February 2011, a review was carried out into medical services in the West Sussex area, known as the Service Redesign for Quality (SRfQ) in West Sussex.

At the time, Western Sussex NHS Hospitals Trust had only just been formed from a merger of Royal West Sussex Trust (later to be St Richard’s) with Worthing and Southlands Hospital Trust.

There was no such thing as Coastal West Sussex CCG, instead it was NHS West Sussex that was the Primary Care Trust (PCT), responsible for commissioning health care for West Sussex residents.

NHS Sussex was the entity overseeing much of the work of these bodies, now defunct, as are many of the other bodies that have been swept away in the raft of changes since the current Government was elected.

The SRfQ proposals contained in the public consultation brochure said the following:

“The building known as the Harness Block where the wards are located will be vacated. The long term use of the vacated buildings on the Southlands site will be looked at as a separate project but the trust has, for example, already had exploratory discussions with a local GP practice about their potential interest.”

At no point was there ever any proposal to cede such a substantial amount of the site to developers and there certainly wasn’t anything said about demolishing the heart of the hospital, the Harness Block. The Save Southlands group wishes to make the following proposals:

Since virtually all the bodies overseeing or providing medical services in our area have been swept away by the profound changes to the local NHS structures, the current providers have no mandate to carry out their plans regarding Southlands, and the whole question of medical provision in our area needs to be revisited, and a fresh review carried out.

And since the plans for the site are fraught with such uncertainty, we demand that no move be made to demolish the Harness Block without such a review being carried out, and the wishes of the population canvassed in a genuine and meaningful consultation.

To repeat, WSHNT has no mandate to demolish the Harness Block, or any other part of the site, and to do so would bring into question the democratic credentials of the governing body.

S.J. Guy

on behalf of Save Southlands

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