'˜New ways must be found to keep Midurst Community Hospital'

Midhurst town councillors are putting their weight behind campaigners who are fighting to stop the closure of the Midhurst Community Hospital inpatient ward.

Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 4:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 4:43 pm
Sussex NHS Community Trust launches recruitment drive in Midhurst for nurses so Community Hospital can be reopened. Photo by Derek Martin

There was shock when the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) announced two weeks ago it was closing the 17-bed Bailey Unit ‘indefinitely’ because of a shortage of staff.

Last Monday (July 9) members of the town council’s finance, asset and policy committee called for a full council debate on the hospital after concerns were raised by vice chairman of the council Gordon McAra.

He said the decision had been ‘driven by money’. “The NHS don’t like spending money on a small building like this.”

But he said the hospital was at the heart of the community and closing it down was the wrong decision: “We as a town council should put as much effort as we can into saving it.”

He said campaigners should find an alternative use for the hospital, which would also keep beds for the rehabilitation of elderly patients.

“Maybe it’s feasible to expand the Macmillan arrangements to take on more people in palliative care to look after some of the rehabilitation beds, particularly elderly patents coming from St Richard’s who can come and stay there until they are able to go home. Macmillan could operate it with a smaller ward for rehabilitation.”

Mr McAra said all the services run by the trust were on the coast to the east: “There is nothing here and anyone who needs rehabilitation will have to go to Bognor or Littlehampton.

“It is completely senseless as far as making the best use of NHS resources is concerned. Unless we come up with solutions this is another service north of the downs which will vanish.” Finance chairman Carol Lintott added that Rotherfield Mews, next to the hospital, had been empty for eight years: “It could be used for staff accommodation.”