Emergency patients face 30 mile 1 hour trip for treatment

EMERGENCY patients from the Rye area face a 30 mile one hour journey to get treatment if the Health Trust decide to relocate vital services to Eastbourne.

Rye Council’s public services committee voiced concerns over the proposals when they met this week and were worried the ambulance service has not been properly consulted,

The Health Trust says it needs to save £104 million costs in the next five years. The proposals involve concentrating emergency and higher risk orthopaedic and general surgery and treatment of acute strokes on one site - either the Conquest or the DGH at Eastbourne - with 24 hour a day consultant cover in specialist units.

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Tony Moore, from the Ferry Road Health Centre Patient’s Participation Group, said: “The ambulance service has been conspicuous by its absence at meetings and during this consultation. Why haven’t they been there?”

Rye Rother councillor Sam Souster said: “There is no section in the consultation document where the ambulance service has been consulted and yet they are a crucial element.

“The Trust held a public consultation in Rye and the ambulance service was not involved in that. I have to question why?”

Cllr Mary Smith said: “If Eastbourne were the chosen site, the residents of this town, in an emergency, would face an ambulance journey of over an hour from home to treatment.

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“The time from the emergency call to the arrival of the ambulance can be vital. Any necessary organisational changes and need to be in place and so far we have not been advised of such.

“The choice of Hastings as the site would be most beneficial to the people of Rye. Eastbourne, via the notorious A259 would delay ‘onset needle’ time for stroke victims.

“Treatment for those needing emergency surgery would be considerably delayed if emergency surgery centred on Eastbourne.

“The role of the ambulance service is crucial to the implementation of any changes.”