Closure at Crowborough Hospital Extended

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Today, the NHS Trust responsible for running the Minor injuries Unit at Crowborough Hospital, have announced the temporary closure has officially been extended.

The Unit was closed mid-August for around eight weeks.

A re-opening date has not been given but the Trust and body responsible for commissioning services in the county have agreed a review of arrangements in February 2022.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust has said the closure is to focus staff and resources at Uckfield and Lewes.

The Trust’s full statement is published below:

All parts of the NHS, nationally and locally, are currently experiencing high levels of need, with an exceptionally challenging winter forecast.

To make sure we can continue to offer people the help and care they need we have been looking at ways we can ensure high quality services for our population, in particular making sure we are using our workforce to the best effect in the services of greatest need.

As part of this, the Clinical Commissioning Group in East Sussex is supporting Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) in extending the temporary closure of the minor injuries unit (MIU) at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital.

This will ensure that services at Uckfield MIU and Lewes Urgent Treatment Centre, which are larger services and can see more people, can continue – and can actually be increased this winter.

By focusing staff and resources at Uckfield and Lewes, it will be possible to increase the care provided there, especially the number of booked arrival time sessions available via NHS 111.

It would not be possible to increase the capacity of the Crowborough MIU due to the very limited space on site, which is made even more challenging by the COVID-19 social distancing measures still in effect across the NHS.

Both SCFT and the CCG are committed to reopening Crowborough MIU as soon as operationally feasible and have agreed a review of arrangements in February 2022.

No other services at Crowborough War Memorial Hospital are affected by the closure.

Patients seeking help with minor injuries are encouraged to call NHS 111 first, where trained clinical staff will be able to advise which service is most appropriate for them. An alternative local Minor Injuries Unit is available at Uckfield Community Hospital, around eight miles away, which is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Kate Pilcher, Chief Operating Officer at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Crowborough MIU, said:

The NHS is facing unprecedented challenges this winter and East Sussex is no different. We know how important the MIU is to the local community and we are committed to reopening it as soon as we can. Taking this step means we can provide the best possible service to local people across our Uckfield and Lewes services and even increase what is available there to help us all provide the care that people need this winter.

We want to thank the community for their continued patience and understanding.

Chief Operating Officer at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
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3 COMMENTS

  1. I am dismayed that the NHS Trust has decided to extend the closure of Crowborough MIU, Crowborough is the largest inland town in East Sussex with a population of around 21,000 whereas Uckfield’s population is approximately 15,000. The mileage between the sites is not ‘around 8 miles away’ as stated, but over 10 miles. This means that local residents have the option of having to travel a similar distance either to Uckfield or to Pembury if they have sustained an injury. I fear that a review in 3 month’s time may result in a permanent closure. With large housing developments being regularly approved I’m concerned that we will lose the vital healthcare amenities that we should expect. To illustrate this I will mention the experience of an elderly friend of mine who recently suffered an eye injury. Unable to drive herself, she had to wait for a taxi to take her to Uckfield where she was advised to seek advice from her optometrist. The time and cost to my friend was considerable and could have been avoided if she had been able to seek advice at Crowborough MIU which was a few minutes walk away!

  2. When the K&S was earmarked for closure, the local GPs in Crowborough tried to lobby the health authority to get proper hospital facilities here. Between the Horder Centre and Crowborough Hospital, there is plenty of scope for expansion here. Unfortunately, this idea didn’t get far, but with more major services being moved away from Pembury to Maidstone (first stroke care and now, possibly, coronary care too), it leaves people in this part of Wealden severerly lacking when it comes to healthcare. We have excellent GPs here and a really good MP, maybe it’s time for an action plan? Seeing how effectively the different GP practices from around Wealden worked together at Saxonbury House to get the vaccine programme underway, surely there’s scope (and possibility) in this area for a Wealden hospital?

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