Zachary Merton petition

Cllr Shaun Gunner and Cllr Alison Cooper are launching a petition calling on the NHS to commit to reopening the Zachary Merton Community Hospital.

In November 2023, with just a few days' notice, the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust announced the closure of the Zachary Merton Community Hospital due to "compounding estate issues". On investigation, they have discovered flooding caused by leaks and problems with the heating system. There is no dispute that the building is in need of some maintenance, however, although the closure was called "temporary", no commitment was given to reopening the Zachary Merton.

Residents will be familiar with the situation at the former Littlehampton Hospital where residents were led to believe its closure was a temporary situation, yet its "temporary" closure in 2000 became permanent in 2003, with the building demolished in 2005. Residents are rightly concerned that this will happen again at the Zachary Merton.

Zachary Merton has been at the heart of Rustington for over 80 years. Opened in 1937 as a care home, it became a maternity hospital in 1939, before becoming a community hospital in 1979. As a community hospital, the Zachary Merton helps patients with their recovery and rehabilitation outside of an acute hospital setting so patients are helped to get "back on their feet" before heading home. With the demographic profile of Rustington and the surrounding area - as well as the commitment from the Sussex Integrated Care Board (ICB) to "place-based care" - it is vital that the Zachary Merton reopens.

We, the undersigned, call on NHS Sussex and the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust to commit to reopening the Zachary Merton as an NHS facility in Rustington. We further call on West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council to support our call, and for them to lobby and support NHS Sussex and the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust in reopening the facility as a medical facility to serve the community.

Zachary Merton petition