Fundraiser’s dismay over ward plan delay

The Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals held a draw and naming game in aid of funds for the hospitals. Debbie Wicks Secretary of Friends (L) and Jeanie Sowerby (R) are with the giant teddy whose name had to be guessed and an original water colour of Eastbourne bandstand and pier at christmas including cameos of famous people with Eastbourne connections donated by local artist Lyndsey Smith which was the raffle prize. October14th 2013 E42020P
The Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals held a draw and naming game in aid of funds for the hospitals. Debbie Wicks Secretary of Friends (L) and Jeanie Sowerby (R) are with the giant teddy whose name had to be guessed and an original water colour of Eastbourne bandstand and pier at christmas including cameos of famous people with Eastbourne connections donated by local artist Lyndsey Smith which was the raffle prize. October14th 2013 E42020P
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A tireless fundraiser says she ‘does not have faith’ in the Pevensey Ward project taking place as plans for the scheme keep getting pushed back.

Jeanie Sowerby, who has been a patient at the DGH ward for the last 10 years and is a volunteer for the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospital (FOTEH), said she supports the project but fears it will never get off the ground.

Mrs Sowerby, a retired Queen’s District Nurse, made the comments at the FOTEH AGM and told the Herald she had ‘no faith’ in the promises made by Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The Pevensey Ward cares for patients with cancer and is currently trying to raise money through the appeal run by the Friends. The aim is to improve facilities for cancer and leukaemia patients and to provide a dedicated space for teenagers and young adult patients to help them through their hospital stay.

Mrs Sowerby said she feels the ward is a ‘Cinderella ward of the DGH’, adding, “We were promised it [the project] could be in 2009 and then in 2010 up until today and it hasn’t happened.

“I don’t believe it will happen, I have no faith by the promises made by the chief executive.”

The 79-year-old, who is speaking out individually as a patient, said some of the plans put forward for the project had been scrapped and she felt delays would cost money.

A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “The development of the Pevensey Unit is a priority for the Trust and we agree that the service needs to be re-provided to ensure that we continue to provide a much valued service to our patients, community and the staff on the unit.

“During the development of our clinical strategy it has become clear there was an opportunity to find the space for an alternative Pevensey development with the existing hospital site.

“The benefit of this is that the project is no longer linked to the Radiotherapy Unit project and another organisations time frame.

“The new development for Pevensey is subject to the final approval of the Clinical Strategy Final Business Case by the Trust Board and funding approval from the NHS Trust Development Authority. We are committed to this development and when we have all the necessary approvals we will be able to agree timescales.”