A&E SOS: ‘Crunch’ meetings on future of St Richard’s Hospital

C140922-4 Chi A and E  phot kate SUS-140110-123959001
C140922-4 Chi A and E phot kate SUS-140110-123959001

TWO meetings about the future of St Richard’s Hospital are set to take place today (October 2).

West Sussex health and adult social care select committee (HASC) will grill the Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group over its decision to award a £235m musculoskeletal (MSK) services contract to BUPA CSH Ltd, instead of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The meeting is taking place at County Hall, in Chichester, at 10am this morning.

“The committee has a very considerable influence and if we are unsatisfied and think there could be a likely reduction in services, we can ask the secretary of state to examine it,” said Dr James Walsh, vice chaiman of the committee.

The Observer has more than 2,500 signatures calling for a guarantee from Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health, that accident and emergency and orthopaedic services at St Richard’s Hospital will be safeguarded.

Concerns raised by Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, which runs St Richard’s Hospital, will also be brought to the floor at its monthly board meeting this morning.

The agenda report notes the trust’s disappointment over the CCG’s decision, which it says raises ‘serious concerns’ about the impact on services.

Dr George Findlay, medical director at the trust, said: “As we have consistently stated, MSK services are intrinsically linked to many other hospital services and it is vital a full and robust impact assessment is carried out before any contract is signed.”

Dr Katie Armstrong, clinical chief officer at NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said the group had ‘no intention

to destabilise current accident and emergency or trauma services’.

“I can absolutely guarantee that the CCG will continue to commission A&E and trauma services from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “The CCG is also working alongside Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to understand their concerns, and have agreed that the CCG will receive Western’s impact assessment so that there can be a joint understanding of the trust’s concerns in relation to risk to services and any financial impact.”

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