LETTER: Town council writes to MP...

Dear Mr Gibb,

Re: Health care facilities.

We are writing to you as one council on behalf of a community utterly bewildered and bemused at the lack of progress on providing healthcare facilities which are fit for purpose in our area.

You will know the existing public anger regarding the loss of the Littlehampton Hospital without replacement.

You will also be aware of the anger about the closure of the Arun Medical Group and the dispersal of those patients to other already-stretched practices.

Combine that with the large numbers of new houses being built in our area, the poor performance of our local ambulance service and strains in social care it is no understatement to call the current situation a crisis.

We write to you to make the following specific points which we would like you to raise directly with the Secretary of State.

First, working in partnership our local CCG and Arun District Council have proposals to open a much-needed primary care facility in North Littlehampton, in the empty ‘enterprise hub’ next to Morrisons.

It is becoming clear that rules from NHS England are prohibiting the CCG from taking on a lease which would facilitate the provision of this new facility.

Given the understandable reluctance of GPs to take on leases themselves, this issue needs directly addressing as it will hinder the improvement of primary care facilities across the whole country if it is not solved.

Second, we have been to repeated meetings regarding the use of the old hospital, which stands overgrown as a monument to the inability of the NHS to act as one body to improve its estates.

We note that Zachary Merton community hospital in Rustington is approaching the end of its life.

Pepperville House has similar problems and is not in an ideal position to provide mental health services being located on the edge of an industrial estate.

The health centre facilities next to the hospital site are past their useful life.

This site offers the opportunity to resolve many of these issues.

A new facility reproviding these services with the potential to include some residential development to help pay for it.

However, progress is halted once again by the different organisations involved and the rules and regulations preventing timely resolution.

There are many other issues which we discuss constructively with the CCG. Some issues, though, need tackling by Government.

The cuts required by the Sustainability and Transportation Plan (STP) submitted to Government concern us greatly.

Whilst no doubt savings can be made by enhancing access to primary care, it is clear that the necessary freedoms and powers necessary to move forward essential projects have not been granted to CCGs to enable collaborative projects to be taken forward.

This threatens the achievement of the savings targets set.

Reducing attendance at acute facilities will not happen without delivery of these projects.

We are lucky to have two excellent hospitals in St Richard’s and Worthing and wish to see the necessary improvements to primary care in our area delivered so they are not operating under extreme pressure all the time and are able to carry out planned operations and have beds available for emergency patients.

Fourteen members of the town council have endorsed this letter.

Councillors Ian Buckland, James Walsh, Mick Warren, Derrick Chester & Tony Squires

Littlehampton Town Council

Church Street



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