Community urged to back march

Liz Walke at the the march in September, 2012
Liz Walke at the the march in September, 2012

Thousands of people are expected to turn out in force tomorrow (Saturday) to join campaigners against the downgrading of services at the DGH.

The protest comes four months after the Eastbourne hospital became a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit and he changes also mean that children are no longer able to stay overnight at the DGH Friston Ward.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said the temporary move had been made on the grounds of safety but it came as a blow to campaigners and followed a decision in November last year by the board of the trust to vote in favour of plans to centralise emergency general surgery and emergency orthopaedics at the Conquest in Hastings, with specialist stroke care remaining at the DGH.

This was later backed by NHS Sussex.

Save the DGH chairman Liz Walke was at the forefront of last year’s march to fight those plans and is calling on the community to turn out in their droves to reiterate their message and to ensure the recent changes to maternity and paediatrics do not become permanent and to stop the downgrading of A&E.

The march starts at 10am at Sussex Downs College

Mrs Walke said, “We want to show that those of us relying on our local DGH are against the downgrading of emergency core services. This will be our last chance to be heard as we are now beginning to see the domino effect of services being removed, just as we feared. When one service goes, others soon follow. It makes no sense to turn the DGH into what is fast becoming a Minor Injury Unit with some Acute Medical Admissions, leaving high risk pregnancies, in-patient paediatrics and other emergency needs at the mercy of an ambulance which has to travel either east, north or west to find a spare hospital bed in some neighbouring town.”