Patients’ medical records and staff members are set to be moved away from Conquest Hospital to a ‘central location’ in Hailsham.
More than one million records and dozens of staff who work at Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne DGH, are being relocated to a central records store in Apex Way in Hailsham.
East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs the hospitals, said health records will soon be electronically tagged to keep track of them – and all notes will be scanned to create electronic documents.
However the union for health workers, the GMB has spoken out against the plans – arguing the changes could lead to patients’ notes being unavailable at appointments.
Gary Palmer, GMB regional officers, said: “GMB medical records staff are clear that this proposed move can only be detrimental to consultants and patients at both hospitals.
“As the records would be based so far away from the hospitals, any hold ups or failures could leave patients unable to see doctors and consultants with their notes being unavailable at appointment times.”
The union said the relocation could mean a 13-mile round trip to Eastbourne and a 34-mile journey from Hastings.
A spokesman for the GMB said: “Lack of thought for the effect this organisational type of move will have on staff is clearly evident.
“If you take into consideration the difficulties travelling to and from work, it will mean for some staff and increase of two hours to their working day.”
More than 1.5 million records are currently stored across the two hospitals sites and two off site facilities, but Apex Way is the only site which is not ‘at capacity’. The trust said the change will also allow the hospitals to expand clinical space.
Richard Sunley, acting chief executive, said: “The trust has listened to its staff who suggested single siting as a solution to the capacity problem at a meeting last summer.
“We recognise this is not popular for some of our records staff and we have engaged with them throughout this process and will continue to do so as we move forward to work through any outstanding issues and concerns.”
The trust said it looked at a number of locations for a central store, considering locality, space and costs.
Mr Sunley added the trust had made a ‘significant investment’ in health records, and said the electronic tagging will help deliver a ‘high quality records service’.
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