Key services for people at Firwood House closed at the weekend.
Eastbourne’s MP Stephen Lloyd said he only learned on Friday morning (October 12) that intermediate care beds for respite and rehab patients at the Hampden Park facility were closing on Sunday (October 14).
He said, “I am profoundly disappointed the many thousands of local residents who joined me in opposing County Hall’s plan to cut key services at Firwood House have been ignored.
“Discovering these plans are being actioned in just a couple of days makes the decision even more unpalatable. I’ve already written to the Tory Leader of the county council, Cllr Keith Glazier, expressing my shock at the actions of his council.”
The cash-strapped county council made the decision to close the home earlier this year – despite a public outcry and a number of protests against it.
Another Eastbourne care facility – Milton Grange – was spared from being cut and is set to be reorganised, integrating the day services from Warwick House in Seaford and the 19 intermediate care beds lost from Firwood House.
Mr Lloyd continued, “I, and others, had hoped that the closure would not happen for a few months yet, so I can only hazard a guess at just how anxious the affected staff are, as well as patients and relatives of patients who are due to be admitted.
“My team have already fixed a meeting with the Care Quality Commission in London where I will be asking them to examine the safety concerns which many people have.
“Frankly, I fail to see how Milton Grange can be expected to safely absorb such a significant increase in patients.”
Responding to this, an East Sussex County Council spokesperson said, “The decision to transfer the intermediate care bed services from Firwood House to Milton Grange was made by Cabinet in June, with officers being asked to agree on the appropriate timing of the move in discussion with relevant partners. Throughout the process, people affected have been kept fully informed of progress.
“To accommodate this transfer, the number of intermediate care beds at Milton Grange has been increased. Therefore, the service currently provided at Firwood House has been relocated to Milton Grange.
“Milton Grange is a purpose built facility for intermediate care. As the beds were increased at Milton Grange there was a corresponding reduction in the service provided at Firwood House. At the end of last week this resulted in there being only one client remaining who was pleased to be transferred to Milton Grange.
“Merging the services on one site improves medical cover, as doctors can devote more time to the patients in the ward round instead of splitting their time between the two sites.
“People referred for intermediate care will see no difference in the service they receive, as these services will continue to be delivered at Milton Grange.”