New Littlehampton doctors’ surgeries needed to meet demand

Thank you to James Butler for summarising the Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group estates strategy. I wanted to add a few additional points.

Page nine of the strategy states that there is a ‘very strong likelihood that some of the expected additional demand will not be met’. These are new patients we are talking about. The strategy fails to mention any prospect of a new facility for North Littlehampton.

Fitzalan Medical Centre

Fitzalan Medical Centre

After much time and money wasted on consultants, feasibility studies and even a planning permission, this project appears to have been abandoned. In addition, there also seems to be no mention of provision for the other expected strategic housing sites in the local plan in our area such as Ford, Climping, Yapton and Angmering.

A study of the websites of our local practices as I write this indicates that both Fitzalan and Park surgeries are not accepting new patients and that Westcourt are only accepting new patients within the Practice boundary, which excludes most of Littlehampton.

The proposed replacement outpatient clinic, reprovision of Pepperville House and, most importantly, replacement community beds if Zachary Merton is lost, is most welcome as part of the One Public Estate project.

However, talking to those involved, a completion date of 2021 appears wholly unrealistic.

Today as we speak there is a problem with capacity, demonstrated by recent CQC inspections, despite the hard work of all the staff in our practices.

Short- term measures to assist with this must not be overlooked.

I’m pleased that the town council is writing directly to the Secretary of State to explain the situation locally and seek assurance that the decision making and financial procedures within the NHS are actually capable of delivering the facilities we need.

In the meantime, I hope all councillors considering proposed new housing developments will push for an answer to the question: “Can we guarantee new residents will be able to register with a GP within a reasonable distance?”

Cllr Derrick Chester

Member of Littlehampton Town Council, Manor House, Church Street, Littlehampton

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