Eye care changes approved for Western Sussex Hospitals

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KEY changes to inpatient and eye care have been approved by the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

Under the changes, labelled Service Redesign for Quality, all major orthopaedic operations will take place close to critical-care facilities, while new eye inpatient services will be based at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester and Southlands Hospital in Shoreham. The aim of the changes is to reduce the number of times inpatients are transferred between hospital sites.

The plans also include new community beds, extra support from GPs and other medical staff to support people in their own homes.

The changes were drawn up by clinical staff from the three hospitals, community and primary care services and approved by the WSHT board.

Among the issues raised during the consultation period was care for elderly people. The trust said the NHS in this area was prioritising care for the elderly and was working with social care and the voluntary sector on a Frail Elderly Strategy.

The aim of the scheme, called One Call/One Team is to bring the NHS and social care together with new consultant community geriatricians.

The strategy aims to introduce faster access to elderly-care specialists for people fracturing their hip, streamlined stroke services, and far-reaching improvements to the way emergency admissions are managed.

In June the plans received the backing of GPs, and were also supported by members of West Sussex County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee as being ‘in the interests of local health services’.

The plans still need to be approved by NHS Sussex before the changes can go ahead.

The trust’s medical director Dr Phillip Barnes said: “These plans have always been about clinical teams trying to give their patients better, safer care.”