Charity suspends funding for Crowborough Hospital following MIU closure announcement
A volunteer-run charity has announced a suspension on expenditure on any projects with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) at Crowborough Hospital, due to the extended closure of the Minor Injuries Unit.
The charity, Friends of Crowborough Hospital disagreed with the Trust’s decision to extend the closure of the unit due to an inability to increase its capacity.
The SCFT announced last week it would be extending the closure of the Crowborough MIU to ensure better services at Uckfield MIU and Lewes Urgent Treatment Centre.
The Trust also said 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.
In a statement, Friends of Crowborough Hospital claimed this reasoning is ‘not correct’.
The charity stated that the old physio department inside the main hospital entrance was a space that could double the size of the MIU, being ‘well located and immediately available’ – having been vacant since before the pandemic.
The Friends also said they had previously offered to fund the transition of the MIU into this larger space, but ‘regrettably’ the offer has not been taken up by the SCFT.
The committee chair for the charity said: “At a time when ambulance queues outside hospital A & E departments are a significant national problem to the NHS, local MIUs can ensure that minor injuries do not add to the pressures on already stretched A&E departments. Proactive health providers have recognised this value of MIUs and some have even expanded MIU hours of opening during lockdown for this very reason.
Unfortunately, the ongoing closure of the Crowborough Hospital MIU will create some additional pressure on the Tunbridge Wells Hospital A&E department in West Kent, but that does not seem to be of concern for the new East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group who appear to have supported this closure rather than challenged it.
The Friends say they are in discussions with other potential providers to investigate any alternative arrangements of basic “urgent care” that may be possible, and any funding or resources available from the Friends would be needed for this.
The charity also said its support for projects with other provider NHS Trusts at Crowborough Hospital is not affected by this decision.