THE board of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has approved changes to inpatient care and ophthalmology services.
At a meeting on Thursday, June 30, members voted to accept recommendations put forward after the Service Redesign for Quality public consultation.
Original plans included turning Southlands into an out-patient only centre, moving ophthalmology services from Worthing Hospital to Southlands, a new eye clinic at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, and moving orthopaedics from Southlands to Worthing Hospital.
Spokesman Nicholas Brooks said the proposals had undergone a “number of key changes” as a result of feedback received during the consultation.
These included the reinstatement of a shuttle bus between Worthing and Southlands Hospital, and a commitment by the trust to work with other public sector organisations to investigate whether there are new, economically viable ways, to use the main Southlands Hospital block for the benefit of the community.
Dr Phillip Barnes, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust medical director, said: “These plans have always been about clinical teams trying to give their patients better, safer care.
“Having listened to hundreds of people during the public consultation, I think the result is a set of plans which are even better than before – we are still looking to make the changes that clinical staff wanted to see for their patients, but we have also been able to respond to community concerns.
“We are all extremely pleased that local GPs and the West Sussex Health Overview and
Scrutiny Committee have already backed the planned improvements.
“We understand not everyone will be happy when such big changes are proposed, but I am reassured our clinical staff firmly believe that these changes will be good news for patients, and that is clearly our overriding priority.”
Concerns raised during the consultation included the loss of the Harness Block at Southlands Hospital and longer journeys for people in Worthing with chronic eye conditions.
Campaigners have said they will continue to fight the changes.