After a presentation about five options for the future of the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) hospital in Elm Grove, at the Brighton and Hove City Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday (Wednesday 27 June), two Conservative councillors pushed for services in Hove.
Both Hove Park councillor Jayne Bennett and Hangleton and Knoll councillor Tony Janio cited a lack of local medical services but pointed out the opportunities arising from the proposed Toads Hole Valley development.
The plans for the Brighton General include a GP surgery as well as bringing together services currently in different buildings on the site into a community health hub.
Councillor Bennett said that there was a lack of GP services in Hove Park ward and said: “We have an application for 1,800 homes – one, two, three, four-bedroom family homes.
“There is something to take forward within this for Toad Hole Valley.”
Councillor Janio pointed out that redeveloping the General would pull the majority of the city’s patient population into a small area as it is so close to Royal Sussex County Hospital.
He said: “There are 300,000 people going to a square mile when you struggle to get a GP and there are no cancer diagnostics in Hove.”
He said that there would be “section 106 money” – funding from developers – that could pay for medical facilities in Toads Hole Valley so that patients from Hove wouldn’t have to be dragged out to Kemp Town.
In response, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust’s finance and estates director Mike Jennings said: “This is outside of my control.
“The majority of services are for that part of Brighton and include East Brighton medical centre as well as some city-wide services planned down the road at Royal Sussex County where they do not have the space to accommodate these services.”
He also pointed out decisions on GP surgeries were a matter for Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.
Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Labour councillor Mo Marsh could barely contain her delight at the prospect of new homes and a community health hub at the site.
She said: “This is my local area. I’ve seen development proposals for this site for years and years.
“This one looks like it’s got legs.”
Queens’ Park Labour councillor Adrian Morris was concerned that any future housing for health care workers at the site should be affordable.
He said: “There is another development where housing has been offered for health care workers at the Royal Sussex County Hospital where the housing is not truly affordable.
“It is expensive for a developer to deliver.”
The committee voted to monitor the progress of the development and asked to be consulted about its progress in due course.
A public survey on each of the five options is open at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/BGpublic