Campaigner: “Trust has got it wrong”

Save the DGH march along Eastbourne seafront Saturday 15th September 2012 E38163N'Liz Walke speaks at the rally on the Wish Tower slopes.

Save the DGH march along Eastbourne seafront Saturday 15th September 2012 E38163N'Liz Walke speaks at the rally on the Wish Tower slopes.

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The woman at the forefront behind the high profile campaign to retain services at the DGH back in 2008 has said the trust that runs the DGH has ‘got it wrong’ after maternity services were downgraded last week.

Liz Walke, chairman of Save the DGH group, spoke to the Herald after learning of the story of Eastbourne resident Kirsty Peyton-Lander (see front page) who gave birth in the back of a car on Friday May 10 as her husband drove to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

Mrs Walke, who was ‘absolutely outraged’ after it was agreed to downgrade maternity services at the Eastbourne hospital back in March, said, “Well I have to say Kirsty is a true hero. Being able to give birth in a three-door car will bring admiration from every single mum that reads this.

“However, this is not the way it should be and we need to stop the possibility of this happening again.

“The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust should accept that they have got it wrong and bring back consultant-led Maternity back to Eastbourne DGH before something serious happens and they have a tragedy on their hands.”

A preferred option to leave the DGH with a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit alongside enhanced ambulatory paediatric care, with other services such as neonatal and a consultant-led obstetric service based at the Conquest in Hastings, was agreed back in March. The trust has said it is a temporary measure, expected to last around 18 months.

The news left Mrs Walke outraged and she said supporters needed to fight the latest plans ‘like they were going to win’.

Referring to the dramatic birth of baby Archie Peyton-Lander last week, she added, “This is a warning just three days into the new regime. For every single pregnant women who lives in the Eastbourne and surrounding district we plead with the local NHS to bring back these services now.”