Southlands bed closures top scrutiny agenda

Southlands Hospital sign
Image caption The NHS Trust has said it was committed to keeping Southlands Hospital open

Plans to close 120 beds at a West Sussex hospital will be top of the agenda at a meeting which will scrutinise the proposed changes.

Southlands Hospital in Shoreham will become a centre for day surgery and out-patients under plans put forward by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

Orthopaedic surgery and in-patients elderly care will move to Worthing Hospital, which will get 60 more beds.

A public consultation on the plans is under way and will run until 29 April.

Eye services are to be moved from Worthing to Southlands and St Richard's at Chichester.

As well as extra beds, Worthing is to get two new operating theatres to carry out orthopaedic surgery such as hip replacements.

The consultation document also proposes that more beds and services will be provided in the community for people who need rehabilitation after a long spell in hospital.

West Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) will consider its response at a meeting on 17 March.

"HOSC understands that this issue is very close to people's hearts and hopes to play its part in ensuring that residents have proper access to the health services they need," said chairman Christine Field.

"We recognise that the proposals are a substantial variation in service.

"We will also be looking at the public consultation process and outcomes at our next meeting in May."

The committee will also be looking at a proposal by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals trust to become an NHS Foundation Trust.

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