The lack of an overall manager or administrator at Horsham Hospital was branded ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible’ by several councillors last week.
Members of Horsham District Council’s Scrutiny and Overview Committee were discussing a report from the Health Provision Working Group, which recommended that the authority ‘continue to press for an overall administrator or manager to organise the hospital’.
However Sue Rogers (Con, Steyning), HDC’s cabinet member for a safer and healthier district, had replied: ‘we do not believe that this is a role for the district council’.
Speaking at last Monday’s meeting Leonard Crosbie (LDem, Trafalgar) said: “I find it amazing that there is not an administrator or manager on that site.”
Diana Van Der Klugt (Con, Chantry) added: “I find it extraordinary a hospital does not have an overall manager. It seems almost incredible to me. It’s not our role to be the administrator. What we are suggesting is we should be pressing for them to appoint an administrator or manager. I can’t see why we can’t be pressing for that.”
Natalie Brahma Pearl, HDC’s director of community services, explained that it was not a role for the district council to press for a change but the hospital itself.
George Cockman (Ind, Steyning), chairman of the committee, while not agreeing, said the argument against an overall manager was to preserve the independent identity of all the organisations who operate in the hospital.
David Sheldon (LDem, Denne) added: “I think this calls for us to press for an administrator, if the cabinet member is happy we can write to them and express our concerns.”
Kate Rowbottom (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley) said the Health Provision Working Group’s tour around the hospital the week before was ‘absolutely fantastic’ and praised the work of staff there. But she added: “It just seems a little bit ridiculous. Nobody knows anybody.”
Members also questioned when a consultants’ report on Horsham Hospital commissioned by the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would be made public.
Mr Crosbie said: “I would have thought it was time this document materialised. It makes recommendations affecting all of us.”
In the last year the CCG has said it is looking at what extra services could be provided at Horsham Hospital alongside the minor injuries unit, which is open from Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.