Conquest ward earmarked for closure

A WARD at the Conquest has been earmarked for closure.

Health bosses at the hospital on The Ridge want to shut the 26-bedded ward, saying the beds are no longer needed.

Managers have pledged to find affected staff alternative posts within the Conquest.

But a nurse at the hospital, who did not wish to be named, said: “I don’t see how the provision for the elderly will be of the same standard once this ward closes as the patients will be dispersed around the hospital or put into care homes.”

Simon Purkiss, spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne’s DGH, said managers had this week met with affected staff to start a 30-day consultation period with them.

He said: “The closure is a result of work within the trust to reduce lengths of stay and ensure patients are moved through the system more quickly and cared for in the most appropriate place.

“This, together with fewer delayed transfers of care, more procedures undertaken as day cases and more care provided in the community, means that not so many acute hospital beds are required.

“It is therefore proposed to close Benson ward and we will do everything we can to help staff from the ward find alternative posts within the trust.

“At the same time, we are extending the Medical Assessment Unit in the hospital, so more patients can be assessed more quickly, and directed to the most appropriate place for their care.”