Hospital repair work totals almost £20m

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THE under-fire hospital trust has almost £20 million of backlogged repair work to be carried out across all of its hospital sites.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust runs the Conquest on The Ridge, its sister hospital, Eastbourne DGH, as well as a catalogue of other facilities across the county, employing more than 7,500 people.

Earlier this year the Observer revealed the organisation needs to find around £100 million in savings over the next few years and management have already been criticised for earmarking three services for controversial changes.

The trust’s chief executive Darren Grayson denies plans to centralise general surgery, stroke care and orthopaedics at either of the two main sites is being considered as a cost-cutting measure. Instead he maintains the trust’s stance is a result of efforts to improve the standard of care.

However, the plans have been slammed by campaigners from Hands off the Conquest and those from Save the DGH as putting finances before people.

Now it emerges that the trust has £17.5 million worth of repair work waiting to be done – a fact which is sure to raise further eyebrows.

Simon Purkiss, spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We have two large hospital estates for which we are responsible for maintaining the buildings. Inevitably there are significant ongoing costs involved in keeping our estate functioning well. We also maintain some community hospitals for the Primary Care Trust.

“We manage our building and maintenance backlog within the money we have available. Our priority is to focus first on the most urgent work which relates to patient care, safety or legal requirements which we are successfully doing. We continually assess and prioritise the work that is required on a risk-basis. The safety of our patients is a priority.”