Improving cardiology and ophthalmology services in East Sussex

The local NHS would like to say a big thank you everyone that has taken part in its public consultations about proposals to improve cardiology and ophthalmology services in East Sussex.

The consultations started on Monday 6 December 2021 and ran for 14 weeks, closing at the end of last week (Friday 11 March).

The proposals aim to improve the care available in East Sussex and cut waiting times. They will also enable staff to develop their skills and expertise so more patients in East Sussex can benefit from new medical treatments and technologies.

The two separate sets of proposals have been developed by hospital doctors, GPs and other health professionals. They looked at feedback from people who use and work in local services alongside evidence of what works well elsewhere in the NHS.

For cardiology, clinicians want to create new cardiac response teams at the emergency departments (EDs) at Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne District General Hospital, and to concentrate the most highly specialised cardiac services at one or other of the hospital sites.

Clinicians believe that specialist heart teams based at each ED would mean emergency patients start receiving specialist care more quickly. For patients who need the most complex treatments, concentrating highly specialist care at one site would enable staff to develop greater expertise in new treatments, making them available to all East Sussex patients who need them.

For ophthalmology, clinicians want to consolidate the services currently provided at Eastbourne District General Hospital, Bexhill Hospital and Conquest Hospital into two sites at Eastbourne District General Hospital and Bexhill Hospital.

This would enable patients to have quicker access to tests and treatment and more input from the most senior clinicians. It would also enable one-stop clinics, reducing the number of appointments patients need to attend.

Hundreds of people, including service users, carers and their families, as well as a wide range of organisations, have taken part in the consultation. Responses were gathered through a range of methods, including an online and printed questionnaire, as well as face-to-face and virtual events.

Opinion Research Services Ltd. (ORS), an independent organisation, has been appointed to manage the consultation feedback and questionnaire responses, and to objectively report the outcomes.

ORS will produce a comprehensive independent report of the findings for the Integrated Care Board (that will be established from 1 July 2022), the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Board, and the East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to consider before any decisions are made.

You will find all the background information for both consultations on our dedicated webpage. The findings reports and decision-making business cases, alongside all other supporting material, will also be published here in due course.