Sunday, October 19, 2008

St Richard's Hospital - Partial Victory ?

I am optimistic that St Richard's may yet remain a major general hospital. I think (though I don't know) that the suggested administrative merger may well have been developed as a result of the robust line which your Chichester District Councillors have taken in supporting a judicial review of the Primary Care Trust's decision to downgrade St Richard's Hospital.

I am not going to comment too extensively as much is still uncertain. Our official press release summarises our position: (

"District Council welcomes Fit for the Future 'suspension'

Chichester District Council has welcomed the decision by West Sussex Primary Care Trust to suspend the Fit for the Future (FFF) proposals. The suspension follows the announcement by St. Richard's Hospital and Worthing Hospital that they are considering a merger.
Myles Cullen, Leader of Chichester District Council, said,

'The District Council has always maintained that the FFF decision was fundamentally flawed and not in the interests of the residents of Chichester District. The District Council provided a very large volume of evidence to support the case for St. Richard's Hospital. '

'The Council pressed for the FFF decision to be referred to the Secretary of State and now that it has, the investigation by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel should continue, despite the suspension. In addition, the application for Judicial Review would continue.'

Myles Cullen added: 'We want to see the FFF proposals withdrawn by the PCT, not just suspended.' "

South Downs National Park - Another Letter Please

As I thought might be the case, whilst Hilary Benn continues to be the cabinet minister responsible for national parks after Gordon Brown's reshuffle, we have a new junior minister Huw Irranca-Davies MP who will actually take the decision on whether Rogate, Milland and Linch will be part of the Proposed South Downs National Park or left exposed to development. Please could you take a few minutes to write to him to tell him to leave our villages in the park. His address is:-

Huw Irranca-Davies MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Nobel House
17 Smith Square

I'd suggest saying much what you said in your letters to Jonathan Shaw last year (if you have them to hand in paper or electronic files). Alternatively please have a look at the South Downs Campaign Website (Go to then click on "take action") for further information and suggestions on what to say.

We look as though, against the odds, we are winning on St Richards Hospital. Let's hope we can do the same with the National Park.