I was concerned to hear seven highly-valued, effective health services are about to be evicted from Chapel Street Clinic in Chichester.
Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, who direct Mental Health Services, want the entire building, which they lease, apparently for offices.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, I understand, lease the rooms from them.
The following services have been told to leave by the end of May:
Audiology, who have spent about £100,000 on adaptations there to provide an excellent service for those needing hearing checks.
This includes early assessment of babies and children.
Enuresis/Encopresis Clinic, with a community paediatrician and clinical nurse specialist in continence, helping children and others gain bladder and bowel control.
Family Planning/Gynaecology/Sexual Health Clinic.
I would suggest Chapel Street is perfectly placed to serve the community, and has been since the 1930s.
There is likely to be an increase in teenage and unplanned pregnancies if this effective user-friendly service is not available.
There is also a Domiciliary Family Planning Service for those needing a home visit and one-to-one advice.
Both have been hugely appreciated by many over the years, staffed by unsung heroes.
Health Visitor Clinics for families, especially those with babies and young children, serving many local doctors’ practices.
Even if alternative buildings were available, it would be very costly to adapt them for clinical use, disability access and fire safety.
Lymphoedema Clinic, for those needing specialist expertise following surgery, often for cancer.
Podiatry, a skilled team who provide brilliant care, literally keeping people on their feet
Occupational Therapy team, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation team.
There is a wealth of knowledge, skill and experience here.
I question the strategy behind the proposed mass eviction, in terms of the best use of resources, paid for by taxpayers, for public health in our area.
Chapel Street is easy to reach from the outlying areas, villages, coast and Bognor Regis by train and bus.
As far as I know, there has been no public consultation on this.
It could be said if this does not merit a health impact assessment, then what does?
I question whether there is a fair geographical spread of mental health services for those needing to use them across the district, in Bognor for instance, given the Centurion inpatient unit is also in Chichester.
There is more at stake here than the business plan of mental health services. If by gaining more office space there is a loss of all these fully-functional health services, then this is not serving public health in its entirety.