Health

NHS trust reveals plans for Brighton General Hospital site

NHS trust reveals plans for Brighton General Hospital site

The Brighton General site in Elm Grove could be transformed into a new health hub and a multi-storey car park.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the project, said the new designs would benefit patients by making the site easier to access and use.

The trust said its proposals had been met with “widespread support”, including that of seven-year-old Brighton schoolgirl Nicola Pachulska and her mother Monika Solorz.

Nicola is undergoing chemotherapy after a brain tumour diagnosis and visits the children’s disability service on the Brighton General site twice a week for intensive physiotherapy sessions.

The trust said she was met with a series of challenges each time she attended an appointment, including a “lack of suitable parking for disabled visitors, steep slopes that make access difficult for wheelchairs, hard-to-find services spread out over more than 20 buildings and cramped and dated areas not suitable for delivering modern healthcare”.

Monika said: “There is often nowhere to park near the children’s disability service.

“Sometimes parents just have to leave their young children in reception while they drive round and round the area. It can be really stressful.

“If we are lucky enough to find a space in the main Brighton General car park, I have to push Nicola up a steep slope to get to the clinic.

“It’s hard enough when we are on our own but it’s impossible when I have Nicola’s four-year-old brother with me.

“If the NHS can redevelop this site it would be amazing, especially for wheelchair users and young children.”

Yesterday the trust released a video called “Build Better NHS” detailing the plans for the site.

Trust chief executive Siobhan Melia said: “As we start a new year of planning and consultation with our partners and local people, our new #BuildBetterNHS video gives everyone a chance to see how compelling the case for redeveloping the Brighton General is.

The new health hub will remove the unacceptable barriers many people face when using the site and will fundamentally change patient and visitor experience for the better.”

An outline business case for the health hub plan has been approved by the trust board and the trust’s commissioners, NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.

The trust will be seeking approval from its regulator, NHS Improvement, later this year.

It will then look to work up detailed plans and begin planning consultation and is aiming to complete the new health hub by 2024.

The site is next to the Grade II listed Arundel building, which was part of the Brighton General site.

In October 2018 it was agreed much of the site would be sold off to private housing developers.

This followed an announcement from trust head of health planning Geoff Braterman that the “hospital site is no longer fit for purpose, and demand for housing in Brighton is very high, including affordable housing for NHS and social care staff”.

Health bosses said they needed the money to build the new community health hub, housing all the services currently offered on the site.

But the proposed sale of part of the site was met with opposition from campaigners with a series of protests outside the hospital site.

At a demonstration in February last year, Defend The NHS volunteer David Perris, 63, said: “It’s public land and a public asset. It’s now being sold off to developers and it shouldn’t be.

“It should be used for the benefit of the community.

“There’s a huge need for community beds for people coming out of operations. We also need keyworker housing because health staff are not moving to Brighton or moving away because of the high living costs. Social housing as well is something this city really needs.”

In July last year a petition of more than 1,800 signatures was presented to Brighton and Hove City Council, urging it to buy the site and build cheap homes for people in the city.

Ty Galvin spoke on behalf of the campaign group when presenting the petition to councillors.

He said the Arundel Building, the former workhouse, was owned by the local authority from 1865.

He praised plans for the new health centre but urged the council to keep the remainder of the site in public ownership.

He said: “We have a great opportunity here for a modern health hub and over 500 council homes on this site.

“This means that it would have to be built with public money.”

Council leader Nancy Platts agreed the land should remain in public ownership for the people of Brighton and Hove.

About the author

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Robin Irvine

After being a professional journalist for 5 years and understanding the ups and downs of health care sector all over the world, Robin shifted his focus to the digital world. Today, he works as a writer for Scoop Hawk with a knack for covering general health news in the best possible format.

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