Local GPs and other healthcare leaders are considering proposals to improve the cardiology (heart) and ophthalmology (eye) services in East Sussex.

The proposals aim to:

  • improve the quality of care for all those who need it
  • cut waiting times and reduce how long people have to spend in hospital
  • reduce the number of times people need to visit for appointments or tests
  • support staff to develop their skills and experience
  • provide a more efficient use of local health service resources
  • enable local people to benefit from new medical and technological advances.

The two separate sets of proposals have been developed over the last year by clinicians and other professionals. They examined evidence and examples of best practice from around the country, along with feedback from people who use and work in our local services.

For cardiology, the proposal is to create new cardiac response teams at A&E at Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne District General Hospital, and to concentrate the most highly specialised cardiac services at one or other hospital site. Cardiac response teams in A&E mean patients would start receiving specialist care straight away. Concentrating the most complex care at one site means our staff would develop greater expertise in new treatments, making them available to all East Sussex patients who need them

For ophthalmology, the proposal is 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, increased oversight from senior clinicians, and allow for one-stop clinics, reducing the number of appointments patients need to attend.

At its meeting on 17 November, the Joint Committee of the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) approved the proposals in principle and agreed that they are ready to progress to the next stage.

After the proposals have been considered by the board of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) later this month, the next step will be to share the plans with East Sussex County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to review at their meeting on 2 December.

Following the HOSC meeting, where we will share our proposals, local people will then be invited to have their say through formal consultation over the coming months.

The cardiology and ophthalmology proposals are not linked, so will be consulted on separately. However, the consultations will run in parallel to make it easier and simpler for people who have an interest in both.

An independent report on the findings of the consultations will be presented for the joint committee of the CCGs, the ESHT board and HOSC to consider before any decisions are made.

Cardiology background documents
Ophthalmology background documents

The papers that were considered by the Joint Committee of the Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups on the cardiology proposals and ophthalmology proposals are available from the East Sussex CCG website.