Councillors fear Brighton and Hove residents could be left with a poorer casualty service if proposals to downgrade A&E at the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, go ahead.

Allan Bowman, social care and health director, said: "There are concerns that the county hospital will not be able to absorb the extra work without further delays to patients."

Health chiefs are considering downgrading A&E at Haywards Heath and sending patients who need urgent treatment to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton instead.

But Brighton and Hove councillors say there could be problems in ensuring people arrive speedily at the RSCH.

They are asking if ambulance services will be stretched too far and whether it would be possible for some emergencies to arrive by helicopter in East Brighton Park.

The councillors also think the proposals could present problems for visitors and staff who use public transport. More traffic in Brighton could create problems in the roads around the hospital.

Mr Bowman said councillors wanted to know how the decisions were made. He said: "These decisions should be based on need rather than change for financial reasons."

The concerns of Brighton and Hove councillors will be presented to the Central Sussex Partnership Programme Board on Friday, October 27.