Out-of-hours GP service to move out of Bexhill

Healthwatch praised the hospital trust for its CQC rating
Healthwatch praised the hospital trust for its CQC rating

The out-of-hours GP service is set to move out of Bexhill next month.

IC24 ran the service out of the Irvine Unit at Bexhill Hospital in Hollier’s Hill.

But the not-for-profit social enterprise is set to move the service from the town from February 4 and instead ‘focus on delivery from Hastings and Eastbourne bases’.

One person who contacted the Observer said: “It’s going to have a huge impact on Bexhill, because it has an elderly population.

“It means the residents have either got to go to Eastbourne at the weekend or go to the Hastings Walk In Centre. The waiting time there was five hours on Sunday morning.”

Health chiefs have rushed to reassure Bexhillians they will continue to have access to out-of-hours care.

A spokesperson from the NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are in agreement with IC24s GP out-of-hours service decision to focus on delivery from Hastings and Eastbourne bases.

“It is intended that these bases will be supported by the Bexhill site during periods of known high demand.

“This development intends to provide the right skills mix to ensure that patients requiring an out-of-hours appointment are seen by the most suitable professionals, as swiftly as possible.”

Periods of known high demand will include Christmas, Easter and other Bank Holidays and events such as Airbourne. The Bexhill base will also be operational if the area enters a period of high demand, such as during flu outbreaks.

The spokesperson added: “Patients should access out-of-hours services by calling NHS 111 which will put them in touch with the right treatment for them.

“There are also GP appointments available in evenings and at weekends at extended access hubs across the CCG area. One of these hubs is at Pebsham Sea Road Surgery. Speak to your GP for more information.”

An IC24 spokesperson said: ‘Residents in Rother will continue to have access to our out-of-hours service when their GP surgery is closed.

“We will also continue to provide our home visiting service for patients with the greatest medical need.”