An artist’s impression and video of how the new health hub planned for the Brighton General site have been released today.
The modern hub would be built close to the Grade II listed Arundel building at the top of Elm Grove, replacing a number of unlisted buildings, many of which are in disrepair.
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) is intending to sell the Arundel building, a former workhouse which is currently underused, to help fund the redevelopment and is also in talks with the council over the sale of another part of the site for social housing.
The trust says the redevelopment will also make services more accessible for disabled people, who currently struggle to navigate the sloping site.
Seven-year-old Brighton schoolgirl, Nicola Pachulska, and her mum, Monika Solorz, feature in the video. Wheelchair user 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.
But she and other patients struggle with a lack of suitable parking for disabled visitors, steep slopes, hard-to-find services spread out over more than 20 buildings and cramped and dated areas.
Monika Solorz, Nicola’s Mum, explained: “There’s 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.”
SCFT’s plan to redevelop the site includes building a multi-storey car park right next to a brand new health hub, with lifts for people who use wheelchairs, pushchairs or find walking difficult.
The entrance to the hub will have street-level access from the main road, making it easier to get in and out of the building. The hub will also bring local patient services together under one roof, with a separate purpose-built building alongside it for the Sussex Rehabilitation Centre, making it easier for patients to find their clinic and arrive at their appointment on time.
The Outline Business Case for the health hub plan has been approved by the SCFT Board and the Trust’s commissioners, NHS Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.
The trust will be seeking approval from its regulator, NHS Improvement, this year. This will give the project team the green light to work up detailed plans and begin planning consultation. The trust is working towards completing the new health hub by 2024.
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, Siobhan Melia said: “As we start a new year of planning and consultation with our partners and local people, our new 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.”