Crawley Question Time 2022: Crawley health services want to ‘plan more intuitively for the needs of the population’

A panel of experts from Crawley discussed the town’s need for a new hospital to meet the growing demand created by the new housing developments in the town.

Crawley Question Time was hosted at Crawley College yesterday (March 10) and included a panel of guests from the key sectors that form the town.

The panel featured Councillor Peter Lamb, Councillor Duncan Crow, Councillor Michael Jones, Chief Inspector Shane Baker, Deputy Youth Mayor Shelly Sharma, Dr Pennie Ford and Dr Laura Hill.

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A plan was proposed thirty years ago to build a new hospital in Pease Pottage to meet the growing demand of the town.

Crawley Hospital

Since then, Crawley has rapidly expanded to include a new neighbourhood Forgewood and could soon see a new housing development in West of Ifield.

Question submitted by an audience member: “With the expansion of 3,000 new homes in West of Ifield, will there be a burden on Crawley’s health care system?”

Dr Laura Hill, Clinical Chair of Crawley Commissioning Group, said: “I understand the concern and it hasn’t been particularly easy for people to get an appointment with their GP surgery.

“GP surgeries have been open all through the pandemic, all be but working in a different way as advised by our colleagues in Government. I can see that there are concerns with that level of difficulty with access to GPs.

“We currently have a good relationship with the County council and local council partners. We are collaborating with them to create a plan to support housing with new GP health care facilities in the area.

“We are dedicated to the whole of Sussex, in terms on how we plan workforce. We have good partnerships with local universities and colleges to think about more broadly how we attract and retain local people and our youngsters coming into the health service.

“We want to make an attractive place to work and stay. In terms of tackling where the facilities are, they are usually planned and we can work with the companies early on to make sure we cover all the areas.

“It might not be the same way we usually plan in Crawley with GPs, but we will certainly work with people to make sure they have somewhere to register and get their local health services.

“What we are able to do now across Sussex is to be flexible and work with providers across the system. We want to understand the demographics of the new site and therefore plan more intuitively for the needs of the population.”

Dr Pennie Ford, Executive Director of Crawley CCG, said: “We work really closely with the District and Borough planning department and we have a good relationship with current and forthcoming developments in West Sussex. We build them into our long term plans for all of our services. Including the places where we think there will be a demand for primary care.

“We are very keen to bring services together and have an integrated approach to health care.”

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