A 24-hour urgent care hospital now closes overnight amid drastic staffing shortages - but critics say this move will leave the town with the worst health service in its history.

The Crawley Urgent Treatment Centre will close at 10pm every night in a bid to ensure that "safe staffing levels" can be maintained.

A spokesman for the NHS location in Crawley Hospital said: "Whilst arrangements have been put in place to utilise temporary staffing, this is not providing adequate cover and is not sustainable."

The health service says the change to 7.30am-10pm opening hours is temporary but has not provided a time for the full service to return.

"This pilot arrangement will allow us to reallocate overnight staff into the daytime when the unit sees the most patients," the spokesman added.

Read more: Over 700 attacks on NHS staff reported last year across Sussex

"It will mean that we have more staff available when patients need the service most as we consider how we can meet the needs of the local community for the long term."

The centre treats patients with injuries which are not life-threatening such as broken bones, burns, cuts and bruises.

Most patients are said to attend the centre between the revised opening hours with an average of two patients per hour using the service overnight.

It encourages people to call 111 or go to another emergency department such as the Princess Royal in Burgess Hill overnight.

The Argus: Labour candidate Peter LambLabour candidate Peter Lamb (Image: Crawley Town Council)

But Crawley Labour Group, which runs the council, condemned the move and said it could result in longer waiting times - and force people to seek medical care out of town.

An open letter signed by Crawley Labour candidate Peter Lamb and council leader Michael Jones said:

We strongly condemn the political decisions which have resulted in the loss of 24-hour provision at Crawley Hospital's Urgent Treatment Centre.


The underfunding and mismanagement of the NHS under the Conservatives has resulted in many residents being unable to access GP care or dentistry when they need it, some of the longest waiting times in the country for treatments for conditions such as cancer, and with A&E waiting times six times over the NHS's national target.


This decision will only make these problems worse and force more patients to seek treatment out of town at greater cost to both themselves and the NHS.

14 years on from winning the constituency with a promise that they would build a new hospital for Crawley, the Conservatives are instead leaving the town with the worst health services in its history.

 The NHS said it will be monitoring the number of patients attending, as well as their reason, and monitor the wider impact this closure has.