As we move into Autumn, I thought you would enjoy hearing our news. Of course the Uckfield Hospital League of Friends (LoF’s) is not spared the problems of “UK Ltd”. We, and the NHS seem to be in a trough between two enormous peaks of problems, Covid and Inflation. Both have huge economic impacts whilst one is caused by an invisible (to the unaided human eye) spiral of protein, the Coronavirus, and the other, inflation, largely man made. This perfect storm created by inflation, created by a rebound in demand after Covid lockdowns and energy shortages, devaluation of the pound sterling, and in the case of the NHS a severe post Brexit, shortage of manpower. Whilst the League of Friends can have no control over these events, we still remain solvent and happy to support the Community Hospital where we can within the rules of our charity. Yes there have been a reduction in fund raising events but individual donations still remain high and our financial position remains robust.

The LoF’s remains concerned by a lack of anyone who has a specific role in “running” the Hospital. Whilst wonderful work is undertaken by key individuals we still are at the whim of other organisations, particularly Eastbourne Hospital Foundation Trust, to commit people and resources to the hospital. Other hospitals and organisations also play a key role. We are pleased to note the Queen Victoria Hospital East Grinstead (QVH) has dropped its plan for a merger with the recently created mega Trust comprising of Brighton, Haywards Heath Princess Royal, Worthing and Chichester hospitals. This Trust has significant clinical and financial problems primarily related to Brighton, any benefits, uncertain as they may have been, of a merger by QVH would soon be overwhelmed by the problems in Brighton.

So the LoF’s, thanks to some excellent work by our Honorary Secretary, Linda Kenward, have been building bridges, and meeting with key members of the Eastbourne acute Trust, the new Integrated Care Board (latest version of the PCT then CCG now know as ICB), the QVH and the Sussex Community Trust Foundation. These overtures have been about making greater use of our Out-Patients and Operating Theatres. In addition agitating to get the Hospital integrated if possible, into the new Diagnostic Hubs. Of course supporting whenever we can existing services. The executive had a very useful visit to the St Wilfreds Hospice, which is an excellent well run facility used by many patients from Uckfield and environs. Whilst we cannot be directly involved in St Wilfreds, we are able to support their out lying services based in Uckfield. It’s an impressive organisation, which provides an excellent service and deserves more support.

Linda Kenward (Hon Sec) Bernard Trew (President) Chris Macve (Chair) hand a cheque to the team from St Wilfreds to purchase vital equipment to help Uckfield patients

In the near future we hope to start a dialogue with the Uckfield GP’s to see if we can help them, yet remain within our approved charity activity.

We were pleased to note the arrival of the RITA, which stands for Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities, is an innovative, evidence-based, state-of-the-art digital therapy system which allows patients to use apps, games and other leisure activities as part of their hospital recovery.

The LoF’s also welcomed two new Trustees, Anne Siggs & Bob De’Ath, but sadly it happened because Joan Stocker decided she wished to retire, which we highlighted in the last Newsletter. Joy Burchell has taken over as Vice Chair. The LoF’s continue to support the hospital which so far this year alone is approaching £15k. Don’t forget we can’t help if you don’t ask for support. The worst that can happen is we very politely say our constitution won’t allow us to support you.

Finally don’t forget we have the “100 Club”, not exactly competing with Euro Millions, but certainly supports the League of Friends (see the website for more information).