East Sussex NHS Trust denies ‘significant impact’ of hospital merger despite campaigners’ worries

Local campaigners claim the creation of a large coastal hospital trust is ‘bound to have repercussions’ on healthcare services for East Sussex residents.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 3:59 pm

East Sussex Save the NHS is working with campaigners across the county to tackle the possible creation of a large coastal trust.

The new trust would merge the West Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust - something East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said it ‘welcomes’.

Lucette Davies, from East Sussex Save the NHS, said, “Many people in our area seem to be completely unaware of the proposal for a large, newly-formed trust to take over the running of some services in our hospitals.”

Ms Davies said campaigners are calling for an impact assessment and a ‘proper public consultation’.

She said, “We still have no commitment from anyone that a proper public consultation will be conducted. Yet it is our belief that this takeover could cause significant changes for both staff and patients in East Sussex.

“The newly-formed trust would takeover the running of many services in East Sussex Healthcare Trust hospitals.”

Ms Davies said the merger is ‘bound to have repercussions for health service delivery and serious implications for staff and the public’. 

She also said previous mergers have caused sites to be demolished and travel times for patients to increase.

Despite these worries, a spokesperson for the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said there isn’t expected be any significant impact on patients in East Sussex.

The spokesperson said Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust already provides a number of specialist services to patients in East Sussex and this is set to continue.

The spokesperson said, “We welcome the merger of West Sussex Hospital Foundation NHS Trust and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust. The two organisations have been working under a shared leadership for nearly four years.

“Although we don’t expect there to be any significant impact on our patients, the future of healthcare is about breaking down organisational boundaries to provide high quality, seamless care for local people.

“We will work together with this new trust, alongside other health and care partners, to achieve this aim.”

Ms Davies added, “All energies and resources should be focused on bringing the pandemic under control, not pushing for a merger like this.    

“We demand that the trust is immediately called to account for this lack of concern for public and staff interests and that a public consultation takes place before there are any further attempts to progress this merger.”