Second leader quits Crawley health authority

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A second leader has quit the Crawley health authority which is currently at the centre of an NHS investigation.

And fears have now been voiced that people in Crawley are being ‘subjected to inadequate levels of patient care.’

Last week it was announced that Dr Amit Bhargava had resigned as chief clinical officer of the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group which is responsible for sourcing and paying for health services in the town.

Now the group’s lay chairman Alan Kennedy has also quit. His resignation was announced last Tuesday - just days after NHS England annnnounced that the group had been placed in ‘special measures’ and that an investigation had been launched.

The commissioning group is currently £5 million in the red which has led to criticism from the doctors’ professional body the British Medical Association.

BMA South East regional council chairman Dr John MacKinnon said: “It is unacceptable that a number of patients in the Crawley area are being subjected to inadequate levels of patient care as CCGs have failed to get a grip on their finances. With the NHS at breaking point and increasing demand placing added pressure on services, the government must ensure that the NHS is adequately funded to ensure long-term sustainable solution that ensures the delivery of care patients deserve.”

And the watchdog group Healthwatch West Sussex has called for more openness. Chairman Frances Russell said: “We understand the challenges local leaders face, and that they are talking about how to manage demand and the long term future of local hospitals and GP surgeries, but these conversations should be taking place with local people as well. It’s time to stop shying away from difficult conversations and really listen to what people say must change.”

l Sussex and East Surrey is one of 13 areas ordered by NHS England to make ‘brutal’ cuts to health spending, according to the British Medical Association.

It says there are plans for severe cuts that could extend waiting times, reduce access to services, cut down on prescriptions, and even merge or close hospitals and facilities in some areas.

Spokesman Dr David Wrigley, said: “These plans could have serious consequences for doctors working on the frontline and for the care and treatment patients receive and can expect in hospitals and GP surgeries in these areas.”