Council calls for action on DGH wards

Save the DGH protest march around the hospital, Caroline Ansell Liz Walke and David Tutt. September 7th 2013 E37092P

Save the DGH protest march around the hospital, Caroline Ansell Liz Walke and David Tutt. September 7th 2013 E37092P

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The leader of Eastbourne Borough Council has called for a replacement ward to be put in place after one closed at the DGH.

Earlier this month the Polegate ward shut as part of a package of cost-cutting measures, much to the dismay of key figures in the community.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHNT), which runs the DGH, said the 32-bed ward, which is for rehabilitation and patients who are delayed transfers of care, was closing because the trust was looking to use its beds throughout the hospital more efficiently.

But council leader Cllr David Tutt said, “The ward is for people in real need of recuperation so they can get back to independent living.

“We are losing those vital beds. I haven’t heard of any plans to create a different ward. I would call on the hospital to come up with realistic plans for a replacement ward.”

An ESHNT spokesman told the Herald, “We are looking to use our beds throughout the hospital more efficiently with reduced length of stay for patients so that they are able to return to their home quicker.

“Currently we have a large number of patients who are ready for discharge within the hospital, however for a variety of reasons they have not been able to go home.

“There is a focus on making sure that our patients care is being delivered in the right place and this is not always within an acute hospital environment. For this reason it means we no longer require all our bed space so a decision has been made to close Polegate ward.”

They said as an organisation it was committed to making sure patient safety and quality is maintained whilst addressing its financial situation, adding, “Polegate ward is a temporary structure which is over eight years old and comprises a small complex of portacabins, located adjacent to the main hospital building.

“As with all temporary buildings there is an expected time span for usage and Polegate is nearing this time and would require significant investment if it was to remain open.”