There is hope that the much- loved Midhurst Community Hospital inpatient ward will not close for good after all following a meeting of doctors and community leaders to discuss its future.
The meeting came after a shock announcement from the Sussex Community NHS Trust that the 17 bed ward was to close ‘indefinitely’ due to staff shortages.
The news came just two years after the trust closed the ward temporarily for the same reasons. But staff were found and the ward reopened.
Now campaigners, including doctors and town councillors in Midhurst, are looking at new ways to keep the hospital ward open.
At the meeting last week the idea of creating a ‘one stop shop’ for elderly patients in the area, was discussed.
This could include care of the elderly doctors, Macmillan support, specialist nursing support, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and X-ray services.
Reporting to the town council, county councillor Kate O’Kelly said: “I am liaising with Midhurst GPs and Friends of Midhurst Community Hospital.
“We have had a meeting to explore the idea of a frailty hub based in Midhurst and to explore the options with regard to reopening the ward. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are now hoping it will be a temporary closure.”
Vice chairman of the council Gordon McAra, who also attended the meeting, said: “It is perhaps not as doom laden as we might have thought but there is still a long way to go. We are looking at alternatives which would give the ward more credibility and long term value.
“The doctors are very keen on the frailty hub. It makes a lot of sense to them to have services such as physiotherapy and X-rays on their doorstep.”
He added: “The chairman of the CCG was very keen that we maintain the hospital and move it forward rather than go into a run down scenario.”