Obviously SJ Guy has not visited Southlands Hospital recently.
If they had they would have found a large and busy day surgery unit still in existence, as well as a bustling multi-faceted outpatients department, with x-ray, urology, dermatology, physiotherapy and orthotics, to name but a few, providing essential services for West Sussex, with monies from the sale of the remainder of the site being ring-fenced for updating and expansion of this building.
We are fortunate enough to have two major hospitals within easy reach of us here in Shoreham-by-Sea – the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Worthing Hospital – both only seven miles away, with good transport links, where the economies of scale have been realised to provide all of our needs.
Indeed millions of pounds have been invested recently in Worthing Hospital on the new Emergency Floor (67 beds) and completely rebuilt and extended Endoscopy Unit, in addition to the new West Sussex Breast Clinic on its own site, with many of the other hospital buildings being more up-to-date than the Harness block (opened in 1979).
Whatever the colour of the Government of the day, they have determined that house-building must increase.
Most of the Southlands site is now derelict, and should be demolished and the land made available for other suitable uses, instead of being an object to be mourned.
The Harness block not only needed considerable sums of money spent to refurbish it when it finally closed, but was totally unsuitable for use as a community hospital, being too large and probably requiring significant internal alterations.
Besides, the Sussex Community NHS Trust is the provider of such services, and would not only have to pay Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the building, but also find money for the renovations.
Incidentally, the community beds for Adur and East Worthing are at Salvington Lodge, where up to 27 are available – see the website of the trust.
So let’s be positive and stop dwelling on the past, by welcoming a mixed and much needed development of housing on this brownfield site to ease the shortfall locally, and allow more people the chance to get their own homes, rather than having to rent with nothing to show for it, or to live with their parents when they should be enjoying their independence.
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