Thursday, 21 June 2007

Fit for whose future II?

The consultation document from the PCT about the reconfiguration of hospitals in West Sussex has now been published.

For details please use the link for KWASH – Keep Worthing and Southlands Hospitals

But that’s only part of the story.

At the staff meetings held at Worthing and Southlands sites yesterday (urgently called due to the fact that the BBC had obtained details of the consultation and were about to broadcast!) the local plans under the banner of I.H.S. (Improving Hospital Services) were also outlined as well as the general details of the Settings of Care / FFTF.

One wonders what would have happened were the BBC to have discovered the options prior to the local elections last month!

Anyway, over the next six months it is planned that most of the clinical services currently based at Southlands are to be moved to Worthing Hospital. £8M has been / will be supplied by the DoH to facilitate the move. The Worthing Trust board have indicated that this expenditure will be recovered over a period of two year due to the efficiencies of having more services delivered from one site. Another element of the saving is also supposed to come from the PCT being better able to manage demand – How this is supposed to work I am not quite sure – perhaps the DoH have provided new guidelines as to what it is to be classified as ill.

There is a view that this is an attempt at a pre-emptive strike to get WaSH ahead in the race to be the Major District Hospital for West Sussex. Remember one of the criteria for being designated as such is achieving financial balance.

The practical upshot of I.H.S will be the closure of 50 beds and the loss (by whatever means) of about 140 jobs.

It seems pretty obvious that the PCT are playing a game of divide and rule. The CEO’s will start by trying to point up the benefits of their own organisation being designated the County ‘s major hospital – but by doing that it is implicit that you are denigrating the opposition and we will probably end up fighting like ferrets in a sack.

Everyone at WaSH (and St. Richard’s) have worked incredibly hard to provide the best service they can for the people they serve. Yes, that includes the Management teams as well as the clinical staff – have no doubts about that. Also have no doubts that a County the size of West Sussex can easily justify having two Major district hospitals – I won’t rehash the points made more eloquently made on the KWASH site (and indeed Gavin Ayling’s) read them for yourself and make up your own mind.

Blears and Hewitt have studied their heatmaps, passed on their instructions to their sockpuppets at the SHA and found that the constituencies with the greatest Tory majorities in any area have the most to fear!


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