Protesters have gathered outside Conquest Hospital to demonstrate against plans to move patients’ medical records.
Health workers’ union the GMB and some medical staff at East Sussex Healthcare Trust said the plan to move patient records to a storage unit in Apex Way in Hailsham is ‘unnecessary’ and ‘costly’.
The group protested against the plans outside Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings, this afternoon (November 17) in a bid to persuade health bosses to reevaluate the plan.
Michael Wincott, Labour’s health spokesman at East Sussex County Council, joined the group outside Conquest Hospital.
“History shows we have a local NHS trust totally incapable of storing medical records safely. A catalogue of errors - unencrypted memory sticks, cabinets unlocked, records missing - all of which point to major failures of leadership in the organisation,” he said.
“Their solution to store them many miles away from the hospital is utter madness.
“If you’re brought into the Conquest Hospital unexpectedly, medical and nursing staff should have your records promptly to ensure your history and relevant data is taken into account when putting together a safe plan of care. An unnecessary delay could be fatal.
“I am totally against this move and I stand with campaigners against this ill-advised plan.”
The union said the relocation could mean a 13-mile round trip to Eastbourne and a 34-mile journey from Hastings for staff, who argue it will add two hours to their working day in additional travel time.
East Sussex Healthcare Trust said health records will soon be electronically tagged to keep track of them – and all notes will be scanned to create electronic documents.
However, speaking at the demonstration, Gary Palmer, from the GMB, urged Richard Sunley, acting chief executive at the trust to ‘look again’ at the plans, and ‘consult’ with workers.
He added: “We are hopeful that the chief executive will look at this positively.”
East Sussex Healthcare Trust has not yet commented on the protest.
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