A Chichester family is supporting the Observer’s campaign to safeguard Accident and Emergency services.
Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CWS CCG) has awarded a £235m orthopaedic contract to private company Bupa CSH Ltd.
But the decision has raised concerns over the future of A&E services at St Richard’s and Worthing Hospitals, which are run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation – which lost the contract.
For Tanya Lockyear, the importance of retaining adequate services at St Richard’s Hospital cannot be overstated.
In 2006, Mrs Lockyear’s son Kieran Rowe fell 13ft on to concrete from a first-floor window at a house in Yapton and landed on his head.
Emergency services took Kieran to A&E at St Richard’s where staff managed to stabilise him before he was moved to Southampton.
“If St Richard’s hadn’t been there, there is no way he would have survived,” said Mrs Lockyear who was involved in the 2008 campaign to keep A&E in Chichester.
Kieran was treated for a shattered eye socket, two skull fractures, a chipped bone in his neck, and a brain fluid leak.
But it was the efforts of medical staff at St Richard’s who ensured his survival and it is this fact which has motivated the family to support their local hospital once again.
“You only really have an hour to get a patient to the best hospital and for us, that was St Richard’s,” she said.
But the sale of orthopaedic services to Bupa has her worried about the future of A&E.
“It annoys me because there are so many other things they could be focusing on – A&E is already understaffed. We might lose our hospital services and that’s wrong.”
Mrs Lockyear’s mother Marie Stratton-Baldwin, who is battling cancer, already has to make the journey to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham to receive treatment every three weeks.
“They’re moving everything away under wraps,” she said. “It’s got to stay.”
For her, the sale of orthopaedic services is an ominous sign for a health service already struggling to meet the demands of the community.
Mrs Lockyear and family will be backing the Observer’s A&E SOS campaign to make sure adequate services are kept at St Richard’s in the future and urged others to join in. “You never know when you are going to need your local hospital,” she explained. “People need to either back it or lose it.”
You can also sign the petition online by going to: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/69677
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