West Sussex hospitals
Last week I reported that the West Sussex Primary Trust have been talking about a new option which could see A&E services retained at all three hospitals in West Sussex.
This week the Trust formally confirmed that a new proposal put forward by local clinicians is under consideration. The model "would provide a range of A&E services, critical care, surgery and acute medicine on two hospital sites (St Richard's and Worthing) whether the site is the major general hospital or the local general hospital."
The Board of the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals Trust also confirmed this week that "as now A&E, planned surgery, unselected medical admissions, outpatient services and day case care are all to continue" at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
Since the PCT's current options would result in full A&E services being retained at only one of the three hospitals, this new development could be very positive news.
But some words of caution. It's still only a proposal: it has to go an "Options Assessment Panel", and the PCT hasn't made its mind up. We're told that the existing level of A&E services will be retained at the Princess Royal Hospital, but this is by no means clear in relation to St Richard's and Worthing.
Also, all the trusts concerned are continuing to insist that maternity services should be centralised onto one site in West Sussex.
We're beginning to win the battles, but the fight to retain full local hospitals services continues.
So I urge everyone in the local community, if they have not done so already, to respond to the PCT's formal consultation, reject all three options, and express support for retaining full A&E and maternity services at all three local hospitals.
There are just three days left to respond. The deadline is 9.00 am next Wednesday, 14 November.