CRAWLEY MP Henry Smith has slammed recent ‘failures’ at East Surrey Hospital’s accident and emergency unit, calling it ‘chronically, institutionally, dysfunctionally crap’ on a social networking site.
His remark followed the ‘closure’ of the A&E department last Tuesday (July 19) for five hours to all patients who were not seriously ill and brought in by ambulance – meaning numerous patients were diverted to nearby hospitals.
On Wednesday (July 27), Henry posted on his Facebook wall that he was “about to be interviewed on BBC Sussex & Surrey about the A&E failures at East Surrey Hospital”.
Another poster commented: “I hope you told them just how crap they truley [sic] are!” to which Henry replied: “I think the official term is chronically, institutionally, dysfunctionally crap...”
The comment prompted a couple of ‘likes’ from other Facebook users.
Later commenting on his post, Henry said: “I stand by the sentiment. I think the decision six years ago to downgrade Crawley Hospital will go down as the worst moment in Crawley new town’s history.”
Michael Wilson, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It is unfortunate that this language has been used to describe A&E at East Surrey Hospital.
“Our NHS staff will be shocked and disappointed as they know how committed we are to improving their conditions of work and the services we provide to patients.
“I’m very keen that our local MPs and community continue to help us improve the hospital and its reputation.”
A spokesperson at East Surrey Hospital said that this situation was not unusual, if one hospital was busier than others some patients would be taken to those instead.
MP Mr Smith said: “East Surrey has struggled to cope with the extra capacity, that has previously resulted in issues like poor hygiene inspection reports or ambulances queuing outside and now an actual temporary closure of A&E provision. I am shocked but not surprised.”
His solution would be to boost emergency access at Crawley Hospital and to look at providing a new area hospital that is better centred on the population.
A spokeswoman for NHS Sussex said that it does not have plans to fund and build a new district general hospital in the Crawley area, or for there to be an A&E department in Crawley Hospital.