SEAFORD: ‘Trust has given up on Seaford health’

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A SEAFORD town councillor claims the Primary Care Trust (PCT) ‘seems to have given up’ on providing health services in the town.

A series of meetings have taken place since the East Sussex and Downs Weald PCT announced it could not support proposals to provide a much-needed health facility in the area.

The news has left campaigners outraged and the town’s MP Norman Baker accused the trust of a ‘complete betrayal’ of the people of Seaford.

Questions over the future of health services were put to the PCT Board last month.

Since then Seaford Town Councillor Ralph Taylor along with Councillors Jon Freeman and Carolyn Lambert, a physiotherapist and two GPs met with Mike Wood, the chief executive of the East Sussex and Downs Weald PCT and Graham Griffiths, head of development.

But Cllr Taylor said the discussion had not filled him with any hope that Seaford would get improved health services.

He said, “I don’t feel that we got a lot further to be honest.

“I feel pretty depressed and angry about it and feel like we have been led down a blind alley for the last six years.

“All we’re concerned about is getting services into Seaford

“I think we feel that the Primary Care Trust isn’t going to be here in a couple of years but they seem to have given up.”

For years the community has argued that with a population of around 25,000 better facilities are needed in Seaford.

And residents were eventually given a boost when they learnt a site for potential services to be provided had been identified.

Two front running options were a new build or extending and refurbishing existing premises.

But in October MP Mr Baker was sent a letter from Mr Wood which informed him neither option would be going ahead due to financial constraints.

But campaigners are still keen to see services for minor injuries and outpatient clinics provided.

They say that if a new building is not a possibility then current facilities - such as Newhaven Downs, the day hospital in Seaford or Homefield Place - could potentially be used.

A spokesman for the East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT said, “In the current economic climate we cannot commit to funding large capital developments which would require considerable revenue to support the costs – revenue that would be better spent on front line staff.

“We are, however, committed to developing services within the existing facilities in Seaford.

“We will continue to invest to make sure both GP premises will be able to continue to provide services both now and for the foreseeable future.

“We would like to stress we will continue to work with local people and GP leaders to ensure the service modelling is taken forward in our planning.

“But we would obviously want to focus on the delivery of services rather than buildings.”