MP and mayor spread festive cheer
Tim Loughton MP (East Worthing & Shoreham) and the mayor and mayoress of Worthing, councillor Paul and Sandra Baker, visited Worthing Hospital on Christmas Eve to spread some festive cheer.
Chief operating officer, Jayne Black, welcomed the party and explained how the hospital gets busier over Christmas and New Year when other healthcare services are less available.
Jayne said: “Our doors never close and we are always here for people, but it is also very important that people only attend A&E when it is absolutely necessary. However, if you think you need urgent medical attention you should never delay calling NHS 111, your GP, or 999 in an emergency.”
Last year, more than 5,600 people attended the A&E departments in Chichester and Worthing during the two-week Christmas holiday – up 15% in just two years.
Similarly, over the same two weeks, 2,200 people needed admitting to a hospital bed in Worthing and Chichester – 12% more than was the case just two years earlier.
However, it is not just the emergency departments and medical wards that are busy this time of year, as Mr Loughton and Cllr Baker discovered when they visited the Maternity Department where a number of Christmas babies were expected.
It was also on the Labour Ward where they learned about a new charitable partnership at the hospital and met 35-year-old Cathy Peckham, from Worthing, who runs a local branch of the charity Baby Basics.
A year-and-a-half ago, Cathy gave birth to twins at Worthing Hospital and decided she wanted to give something back by volunteering to help mothers in need of greater support.
Baby Basics provides for families who are unable to provide for themselves; including teenage mums, women in care, people seeking asylum and women fleeing domestic abuse or trafficking.
Cathy showed Mr Loughton a ‘Moses Basket’ of clothing, toiletries and baby equipment which, in partnership with Western Sussex Hospitals, she will be gifting to mothers in need.
Midwifery matron, Juliette Phelan, said: “We regularly look after very vulnerable women at Worthing Hospital who may have nothing for their new baby.
“Currently, we offer them beautiful hand-knitted baby clothes generously donated by local knitters and wash bags assembled by our Women’s Institute, which are always gratefully received.
“Now, we are excited to be able to bring all the donations together so they can be coordinated by Cathie and her Baby Basics charity, giving these women vital support at the start of their motherhood.”
Mr Loughton said: “It is always a pleasure to visit Worthing Hospital and on each occasion we learn of new achievements or improvements that staff are making at Western Sussex Hospitals.
“This time it has been an absolute pleasure to meet Cathy, one of my constituents, and see the love and care she puts into the Moses Basket of gifts she creates for vulnerable women.
“The wonderful work she is doing with the trust is of course particularly poignant at this time of year, echoing as it does the story of the Christmas Nativity and gifts for a newborn baby.”
The Christmas party visited various departments in Worthing Hospital on Christmas Eve, including Radiology, Accident & Emergency and Children’s A&E, as well as Broadwater Ward where they drew a Christmas raffle.
The MP, mayor and mayoress wished everyone working in the trust’s hospitals a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Cllr. Butler said: “It is inspirational to see how dedicated staff at Worthing Hospital are and it has been an absolute pleasure to wish them a Merry Christmas today.”