ACCIDENT and emergency services have been thrown into doubt as a set of hospital services are poised to be handed over to a new provider.
Bupa CSH Ltd has been named as the preferred provider in West Sussex to run NHS orthopaedic services.
Many are worried it may jeopardise accident and emergency services at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. The fears are because the orthopaedic department is profitable and currently subsidises loss-making A&E. There are also questions about whether surgeons who work in orthopaedics could work in casualty after the change.
A campaign has been launched by The News’ sister paper the Chichester Observer to protect A&E services.
NHS decision-makers have delayed handing over all non-emergency orthopaedic services to Bupa CSH Ltd until March 31. An independent assessment will now take place to determine if A&E will be hit by the £235m deal.
Nine years ago residents fought off plans to downgrade the hospital. Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie said: ‘It would be catastrophic, if after all that effort, we were to see St Richard’s undermined.’