Specialist services at the Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) in East Grinstead now face an uncertain future. It is shocking to think that the future of these specialist services is now so precarious. Many recognise the hospital as a centre of excellence. But the proposed merger of Western Sussex and Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospital (BSUH) Trusts is being extended to cover the QVH. Many fear this merger would deny patients from Surey and Kent access to treatment.
Patients from Sussex, Kent and Surrey presently receive treatment at QVH . If there is a merger of trusts is West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and East Grinstead the policy may prioritise Sussex patients for treatment. This could deny 60% of the patients currently treated by QVH access to first class reconstructive surgery.
The background history of QVH
The hospital in East Grinstead developed their techniques in plastic surgery to treat allied aircrew in WWII. It is the largest service for head and neck cancer in South-East England. And, it is the 4th largest provider of this speciality in England. Patients who have suffered burns, cancer, trauma and disease benefit from the excellent outcomes achieved at QVH.
They have an international reputation for opthalmology and one of the busiest maxillofacial surgery departments. The maxillofacial surgery at Eastbourne’s DGH no longer exists but did treat pattients from a wider area. These services are life changing for many and offer a highly specilaised service. Patients from Kent and Surrey must have access to the department at QVH. So, it is shocking to hear that East Grinstead is now under such threat from the creation of this new ‘super-trust’.
This threat to QVH is certainly not the only reason why people should be concerned about the merger. It is a threat to many services in the area and part of a national policy for our NHS. The creation of ‘super trusts’, the mergers of CCGs and the setting up of Integrated Care Systems are all concerns. We fear the loss of services and the expectation that patients travel large distances for treatment. This will have implications for both staff and patients alike.
The campaign to protect specialist services
Save our Specialist Services is a group set up to campaign against the merger and to protect the service at QVH. They are asking people to write a letter to their MP and a sample letter can be found on their website. There is also a petition you can sign on the website. But please do help us by raising awareness in the local population. Please share this post as widely as possible on social networks.
Our Wealden branch has made contact with the campaign in East Grinstead and discussed how they support this campaign. Contact Angie Smith if you are interested in helping out. Her email addres is firstname.lastname@example.org.