Monday, 20 January 2014

Burning Peter to save Paul

Eastbourne has a problem. A big one. We have a hospital here, which is as it should be for a town our size. In fact, since we have the only main hospital for at least 20 miles in any direction, you would think we would be happy with it.

But we're not.

Bit by bit, our hospital is being closed down and the services are being transferred to a 'nearby' hospital, The Conquest in Hastings.
Like I said, nothing else for at least 20 miles. And that's not counting the fact that the main road is guaranteed to slow to a crawl for miles during peak times. Or if there are road works. Or an accident... 'Alternative' routes involve minor roads, many of which have cars parked along them, forcing traffic into a perpetual slalom. Unless you opt for the picturesque route, which, while relatively trouble free, adds an uncomfortable five miles or so onto the journey.

(map taken from Google Maps)

First, the maternity unit was closed down, despite lots of protests, petitions, demonstrations and talks (the kind of talks where only one side appears to be listening, apparently). It was put off and then sneaked back onto the agenda when they thought nobody was looking.

Three days after it closed, the first 'taxi baby' was born, en route to The Conquest.

Now, any scheduled surgery is to take place there too.

A fun fact about Eastbourne; It has the oldest (average) population in Britain. A large town, comprised mostly of OAPs, all of whom have to somehow make their way to someplace they aren't necessarily familiar with, via whatever means necessary

Fun fact 2; Discounting taxi, there is no one single form of public transport that will get you from Eastbourne to The Conquest. The Conquest is at the back end of Hastings, well away from any busy transport routes. This might be fine for patients trying to sleep, but for anyone trying to get there, it's a bit of a bugger. And if you should decide to drive there, then you have to fight for a parking spot in one of the most fractured, compartmentalised car parks I have ever known.

Julie has said to me that she wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to turn it into a cottage hospital. I poo-poohed this idea, but when I mentioned it to my doctor today, he replied that he wouldn't be at all surprised.

Well, crap.

Naturally, the residents of the town aren't taking this lying down - they can't because some of the wards have been closed and there aren't nearly enough beds... In the windows of many houses, you will find small posters defending our hospital. Most of them seem more plaintive than anything else...

Nice flatline...

Julie, being a life resident of the town, is obviously very much against the transfer of services (as am I). One day, we were out for a walk, and we happened to pass a house with one of these posters in the window. Julie felt moved to have a little rant.

Well, yes. Although a tad on the illegal side of things.