There is no doubt our “headlines” today are the news that Joan Stocker is retiring as Hon. Secretary of the Uckfield League of Friends. This of course is a huge loss to the LoF’s, but at the same time we all want to wish Joan a long happy and hopefully a little less stressful life. To some Joan is the LoF’s! She has been heavy involved for over 25 years, even longer than our President Bernard Trew! Joan’s contribution is not a case of turning up for meetings but a full on commitment, as secretary and fund raiser, as well as keeping the LoF’s properly organised and run. The committee and I am sure anyone who has had contact with the LoF’s a very happy retirement a huge “thanks” for her hard skilful work.

Spring 2022 has more hope hanging on to it than most years. Will Covid reappear in a new aggressive variant, will Putin’s madness be controlled, will the NHS recover from Covid and
years of under-investment?

Spring is a great time for optimism, but must be tempered with caution. The good news is that despite the difficulties for charities, the Uckfield Hospital League of Friends charity is in fine fettle! Yes local subscriptions from local events have been hit hard by Covid restrictions. Naturally it isn’t just the lack of donations but the LoF’s profile has been hurt. We have not had our usual dialogue with you the people of Uckfield who support the hospital. We hope ’22 will reverse this isolation. We know expressions like “we have to live with Covid” are good politician’s sound bites, but if the NHS becomes overrun with very ill people, we will have to have restrictions and more vaccinations.

The Trustees have at last been able to meet face to face, and distribution of funds has continued apace.

Trustees meet “face to face” a post Covid “first”

Trustees meet “face to face” a post Covid “first”

Christmas “goodies” for the staff

The hospital still suffers from not having a single governing body, but rely on outside bodies who want to use the facilities. So the hospital is at the mercy of these outside organisations. Despite the risks, the hospital remains popular and heavily used. Patients of course like the opportunity to be treated locally.

As you may know the NHS is being faced with another reorganisation. Out go the Lansley reforms, in come a plan for more integrated care so the boundaries between Primary Care, Secondary care (hospitals) and care in the community are broken down, which sounds great. How will that effect the community hospitals? It should in theory lead to much better and more use of community hospitals. I must report at this early stage we’ve seen no engagement from the planners of this new reorganisation.. The LoF’s have however been in touch with the relevant bodies, the Community Trust and Eastbourne hospital CEO, to maintain good links and mutual understanding.

As always we are constantly looking to ways we can support the Community Hospital, Staff and patients.