LETTER: Back the hospital campaign

COPY of letter sent to Jeremy Hunt MP, secretary of state for health: I am writing to seek your support to retain full accident and emergency and orthopaedic services at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, and also in support of the Observer’s campaign.

I am a former long-serving member of West Sussex County Council and represented the Chichester North Ward. I was a member of the campaign committee set up to retain these services in 2006.

At that time, the secretary of state for health planned to remove these services to Queen Alexandra Hospital at Cosham.

Thankfully under the chairmanship of Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie and the committee we successfully retained full A&E services.

Today the strong arguments to retain these services are even stronger than before:-

The Chichester local plan identifies the need for 395 new houses to be built annually for the next ten years.

This is planned in these areas of the district south of the South Downs National Park.

There are already over 2,000 houses with planning permission which are either not yet started or completed. The National Park local plan numbers will increase that total even further.

Chichester District’s Community Profile highlights a number of startling facts:

An ever-increasing ageing population, many of whom live in rural areas, are without their own independent transport.

I do not have the most recent data for the main causes of ambulance call-outs, but earlier data showed the main causes were that two-thirds were for falls and accidents.

Half of the call-outs for people suffering breathing difficulties and chest pains were for people over 65 years of age.

It has been acknowledged that regular visiting by loved ones, family members and friends greatly helps patient recovery.

In conclusion, you know from your own experience with the Royal Surrey and Milford Hospitals how imperative it is that A&E services are retained for the safety and well-being of our local communities.

Therefore, I trust in your early intervention and support in order to retain our essentially indispensable facilities at

St Richard’s.

Mike Hall

Crouch Cross Lane