Long-standing Littlehampton hospital campaigner slams ‘biggest betrayal’

RETIRED GP and long-standing Littlehampton Hospital campaigner Dr James Walsh has slammed the decision not to rebuild the facility as “the biggest betrayal”.

Wednesday, 4th April 2012, 6:55 am

Dr Walsh, Liberal Democrat county, district and town councillor for Littlehampton East and Beach, said: “I have twice helped to save the hospital from closure in my 38 years as a local GP.

“This decision is by far the biggest betrayal of our entire local population, and I have to say a cynical, deliberate plan by the NHS bosses past and present.

“We were categorically assured six years ago that the contract for rebuilding was in place, and on that basis the old one was demolished.

“A week later, we were told the rebuilding contract had not been signed.

“In retrospect, this was clearly pre-planned by the PCT and was a loathsome betrayal of trust.

“Our community needs to have outpatient clinics, minor injuries unit, x-ray and ultra-sound and other diagnostic facilities, physiotherapy, all to replace the health centre which is at the end of its life and a mental health unit to replace Pepperville House.

“Zachary Merton Hospital and its very valued 28 beds has a limited lifespan, and when it closes, our community of 80,000 people will have no local community beds.

Patients and relatives will have to travel to Worthing or to Chichester, and for many this is difficult and expensive in taxis.”

Dr Walsh claimed the “whole charade” had wasted £700,000, and pending court action could still mean a payout of £8million but with no hospital provided.

“The decision is based on deeply flawed evidence, and was predetermined by bureaucrats from the beginning. I call on our local MPs to get this perverse decision reversed.”

He said he was considering the possibility of seeking a judicial review of the decision and holding a referendum.