LETTER: Concern at threat

I READ with concern the articles in the local press regarding the possible threat to accident and emergency services at St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals.

I understand that this is due to the decision by Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to award the contract for new integrated musculoskeletal services in the coastal area to a partnerships between Central Surrey Healthcare and Bupa UK.

The health and adult social care select committee has been reviewing proposals for musculoskeletal services across the whole of West Sussex, and in June, 2014, welcomed the commitment to improving patient outcomes and experience to be delivered through the new services.

We were also reassured that a consistent service would be available to all patients across the county and that key NHS organisations were working together to ensure health and social care system sustainability.

However, given the concerns being raised by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, I – along with committee vice-chairman, Dr James Walsh – have asked to meet urgently with Katie Armstrong, chief clinical officer for the CCG to understand the implications of their decision. We will also be meeting with Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals to hear her perspective.

This is a very complex issue, and my focus – and that of the health and adult social care select committee – will be on making sure patients’ interests are uppermost, and that high quality, safe and effective services continue to be delivered locally.

The committee next meets on October 2, and if necessary this could provide an opportunity to examine the implications for local health services of this decision.

Margaret Evans

Chairman

Health and adult social care select committee