KWASH campaign chairman chains himself to doors of PCT in protest (18 July 2007)

KWASH campaign and former Mayor of Worthing Major Tom Wye chained himself to the doors of Worthing and Southlands Primary Care Trust in protest at their plans to downgrade Worthing and Southlands Hospitals.

Major Tom and fellow KWASH campaigners Derek Hitchon, Cat Hedger, Mary Williamson, Cllr John Rogers, Eileen Forster, Lesley Why, Val Hitchon, Denise McGarth and Norah Fisher arrived at the PCT at the crack of dawn wearing Hands off our Hospital Nurse Sunshine t-shirts and pasted KWASH posters across the entrance to the building. Major Tom then chained himself to door way in attempt to get PCT bosses to listen to the concerns of local residents. In the consultation document published last month by the PCT, two of the three options will see Worthing and Southlands hospitals’ services severely downgraded.

Major Tom commented: “We are at a loss. We have been speaking to the PCT over the last year and they are not listening. I would urge all local residents to make their views known to the PCT at the public meetings being held to discuss the proposals.”

KWASH holds Valentine's Day protest (14 February 2007)

On Valentine's Day KWASH supporters held a demonstration outside Worthing and Southlands hospital to try and save the heart of their local local health service.

SEEDA Chairman speaks out on hospital downgrading (18 January 2007)

KWASH organised a press conference on Monday January 15th at the offices of B&W Loudspeakers in East Worthing for a keynote presentation by the Chairman of the South East England Development Agency and Sussex resident Jim Brathwaite CBE.

Jim is a highly respected figure both in business and in Government circles and his presence and speech gave an enormous boost to the campaigns across Sussex which are fighting the downgrading or closure of our hospitals. Speaking from a business perspective Jim said that the proposals were bad news for business investment in the area where the South east already makes a net contribution of £11bn in taxes to the Exchequer. He questioned the sense behind such ‘knee jerk reactions to creating change’ and detailed why the health of the local population is an important element of improving the quality of life in the south-east and therefore the attraction for good business investment and jobs.

Jim also expressed concerns about where we would train our future doctors if we are closing down A&E departments all over the place. Instead we should be looking at new ways of delivering health which did not compromise quality and did not take it away from local people. SEEDA is trying to achieve smart growth and getting people on sickness benefit back into the workplace and a fully functioning local health service is an important part of that.

The event was put together by Worthing’s business umbrella group Worthing First, chaired by Roy Stannard who also gave a presentation emphasising that the business community was solidly behind the KWASH campaign and that the proposals as they stood could mean a matter of life and death for local employees in an accident situation. In addition, Worthing & Southlands hospitals with 3200 employees are the biggest employers in the area.
A Chichester perspective was given by director of Deltex Medical Ewan Phillips who gave details of how his employees rely heavily on St Richards Hospital in Chichester.

Consultant obstetrician Jim English from Worthing Hospital also warned of the implications for the local population of losing maternity and other departments from Worthing.

Attendees at the press conference were given a warm welcome to Worthing by Mayor and KWASH Chairman Tom Wye who then introduced the town’s MPs Peter Bottomley and Tim Loughton who chaired the event. Tim welcomed the initiative from Jim Brathwaite which represented an important third prong to the KWASH campaigned having added the business community to support from the local population and politicians and secondly the medical staff at the hospitals. Both MPs agreed that the strength of the KWASG campaigns and sister campaigns across Sussex was having an effect on the SHA and PCT and the tide was turning in favour of the case being put forward by the protesters.