Private Eastbourne hospital could close

The Esperance Hospital in Eastbourne
The Esperance Hospital in Eastbourne

Eastbourne’s Esperance Hospital is at risk of closure.

The private hospital in Hartington Place is run by BMI Healthcare, which is shutting some of its facilities up and down the country.

It is understood a number of BMI centres are at risk of closure, with hospitals in Maidstone and Dundee having been officially announced as closing within the next few months.

The Herald understands staff at the Esperance received letters regarding the closure of Somefield Hospital in Maidstone, confirming there was a continual “review” of the business and staff would have an update at the end of April.

A spokesperson for the Esperance told the Herald, “If we announced any decisions like that then our staff, consultants and patients would be the first to know.

“As you’d expect of an organisation of our size, we are constantly reviewing our business and the services we offer to patients across our estate of hospitals.”

The hospital has 52 beds and is a 12 bed day-care unit, with three theatres and a high dependency unit.

In its latest CQC report, in September 2017, inspectors from the health watchdog rated it as requiring improvement.

Originally called Fernbank, the property was built in 1865.

It stayed in the same ownership until 1898, when it was purchased by the Reverend Canon and Mrs Edmond and their two sons.

The Edmunds decided to sell, and in 1917 it was purchased by the nursing branch of the Holy Family of Bordeaux Sisters. Financial support came from the paying guests, and within five weeks there were 20.

The war effort intervened, and within two months wounded officers arrived with the paying guests leaving.

The Esperance even in the 1920s was a proper hospital. The operating theatre was on the top floor, the kitchen was in the basement, which is where the theatre is today.

The Sisters were proud of their record in 1987 with 49 beds, 60 staff, and treating an average of 2,000 patients annually.

But the time came to leave, selling initially to GM Healthcare and ultimately BMI Healthcare.