Worthing NHS Cuts Opposed!

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Two Worthing Hospital intensive care consultants have produced their own ‘Fit for whose Future?’ report, opposing plans to axe the hospital’s emergency services.

Dr Richard Venn and Dr Lui Forni challenge the arguments given for a ‘shift from hospital to community care’.

Their’s is a response to the NHS South East Coast’s restructuring programme called ‘Creating an NHS Fit for the Future’, rolled out in May.

The consultants examined plans put forward by West Sussex Primary Care Trust and four other PCTs in Surrey and Sussex.

Under the PCTs’ proposals, some hospitals, including Worthing and nearby Southlands, could lose emergency care services or even be shut.

Dr Venn and Dr Forni say in their 20-page report: ‘It would be inconceivable that the 1,000 patients currently treated each day . . . could be handled by other hospitals.’

West Sussex PCT has claimed there might ‘not be the need to maintain the same level of services at acute hospitals’.

Protests over possible hospital cuts have been held in Worthing, Haywards Heath, Chichester and Bognor Regis in West Sussex, Eastbourne and Hastings in East Sussex, and Guildford and Epsom in Surrey.

Meanwhile, a proposal by Telford and Wrekin Borough Council to borrow money on behalf of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been challenged by the local Tory MP.

The trust, which runs the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, plans to cut overnight paediatric services in Telford.

A council spokeswoman said: ‘We are looking at a number of options which may help keep services in Telford and Wrekin. For the wellbeing of local people we believe children’s services should stay local.’

But Shropshire MP Mark Pritchard asked health secretary Hewitt in parliament whether the plan ‘will mean a sharp rise in council tax for the people of Telford and Wrekin and indeed in Shropshire?’

Hewitt said the council’s plan was ‘constructive’ but the trust would have to make any loan repayments.