Littlehampton Labour Party has launched its own plan for the town’s healthcare future following a cancelled meeting by NHS bosses.
Members of the party were at the clock tower in Littlehampton on Saturday, where they canvassed people’s opinions on existing healthcare facilities and asked what they wanted to see in the future.
The discussion was sparked by the closure of Arun Medical Group’s surgery in East Street, Littlehampton on Monday, and the decision to spread the patients among existing surgeries rather than find an immediate replacement.
NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) made the decision at a meeting earlier this year. At the meeting, staff said they were progressing plans for a new GP surgery at the Morrisons site in Wick – a project that has been discussed for several years and which critics say has taken too long to complete.
It also cancelled a meeting about primary care, which includes GP surgeries, last Monday to the ‘disbelief’ of the Littlehampton Labour Party. Chairman Alan Butcher said: “For too long, local health chiefs have continually ignored the views and voices of the people of Littlehampton; from the cancelled rebuilding of Littlehampton Hospital more than a decade ago, to the botched opening of a GP service for the North Littlehampton developments on the Morrisons’ site. Quite simply enough is enough; if they won’t listen, Labour will make them listen. We will do the work for them, and produce a clear and robust plan to cure Littlehampton’s health crisis.”
Littlehampton town councillor Freddie Tandy said the party had asked for a meeting with the commissioning group, but had no response, and called for transparency.
“They are burying their heads in the sand in the hope it will go away.
“If they came out and were honest with people rather than this sense of nothing concrete they might feel better. People were understanding that the doctor shortage is a national issue, and they accept that things are going to change, but they need something rather than nothing.”
The plans will set out how exisiting funds can be spent on healthcare and will be presented to the commissioning group.
The main topics which members of the public raised were reopening Littlehampton Hospital and opening a new surgery.
The Gazette contacted the CCG for comment but has not had a response.
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