I was pleased to read in the leaflet prepared by the Liberal Democratic parliamentary candidate, Dr Kate O’Kelly, that she has made a firm commitment to protect NHS services in Chichester, if she is elected as MP.
The Harold Kidd Unit on the Graylingwell site is set to close imminently, due to the outdated buildings.
It provides services to people living with dementia and older people with mental health needs. The unit will not be re-provided, or re-built in Chichester, and there will be no in-patient facilities in the city. This service is not included in the Conservatives’ national commitment to build more hospitals.
Chichester has the oldest population in West Sussex, apart from Arun, with 31,069 people aged over 65, of whom 2,336 are living with dementia (Alzheimer’s Society – Dementia UK update 2013).
Older people will be required to go to either Worthing or Crawley for in- patient care. This will have huge and distressing implications for patients and spouses who are often older and frail themselves. This is an extraordinary policy given that Gillian Keegan, Chichester’s Conservative MP, in her role of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has not advocated robustly and campaigned publicly for the re-provision of the Harold Kidd Unit in the city.
Chichester desperately needs a MP who will stand up for the needs of local people. For far too long it has simply been assumed that Chichester is a Conservative stronghold, and its people’s voting intentions taken for granted.
Chichester requires and deserves a champion who will put the needs of constituents first, and stop services being permanently taken away from the city.
G. S. Constable