A BRIGHT future is in store for Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital.
The new NHS body which will be buying services starts work on April 1.
And the executive director of Coastal West Sussex local commissioner group, Dr Tim Kimber, said the hospital had an important role to play in continuing to provide community health care.
He said: “The future is bright for the war memorial hospital. There are certainly no plans to decommission any services there. It is far too valuable an asset.
“It has a lot of very important rehabilitation services and an excellent rhemautology service, though there might be a slight change to the stroke service we have there because there are not enough staff to provide the gold standard we would want.
“There will not any new services at Bognor. The beds are staying but we want to get the maximum efficiency from the services there.
“The big question around all our hospitals is making sure patients have equable access to them. The way people get into the beds will change.”
This would be achieved using the results of a review into how the facilities in an area from Shoreham to Chichester and up beyond Midhurst operated.
This had led, Littlehampton GP Dr Kimber said, to the launch of a One Call service in which all GPs in the group’s area would contact a central point when a patient needed hospital care.
This would ensure the patient was admitted to a bed in the most suitable location.
“That might not be so geographical suitable for them because it could see a Littlehampton person admitted to Bognor hospital.
“But the patient would gain from the best care they would need,” said Dr Kimber.
The group would also bring in set admission and discharge criteria to ensure all patients were judged the same.
Bognor’s war memorial hospital on Shripney Road usually has 50 inpatient beds in use to make it the biggest in the commissioning group’s area. This can rise to 60.
It also has a separately- run renal dialysis unit.
The commissioning group will initially work as a sub-committee of NHS Sussex before it takes control of planning and buying health services for its patients in April 2013.
The formation of the group gives GPs control over much of the NHS budget and forms a major part of the government’s NHS reforms.