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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 14:26 GMT
Hospital services review delayed
Campaign poster
Protesters have opposed NHS reforms across Sussex and Surrey
A long-awaited review of proposals to re-organise hospital services in parts of Sussex has been postponed.

The controversial plans have already caused widespread protests.

The debate on the future of the Eastbourne District General and the Conquest in Hastings will not start until next month.

Talks over the Princess Royal Hospital, in Haywards Heath, and the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, will not happen until after the local elections.

Although formal plans have not yet been revealed in the Fit for the Future review, protesters campaigning against feared NHS cuts have taken to the streets in force over recent months.

'Modern health services'

NHS chiefs have said plans are intended to strengthen community services and make urgent care more convenient.

They had been due to announce a decision before Christmas, which was then put off until January.

The NHS South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA) said the two East Sussex primary care trusts aimed to publish their proposals on 12 March.

The West Sussex and Brighton and Hove primary care trusts said their consultation would not start before the May local authority elections.

Candy Morris, chief executive of the SHA, said: "We recognise that this prolongs the uncertainty for patients and staff, but believe that getting the right proposals is the most important thing if we are to create the modern health services that local people need and deserve."

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