The future of three key hospital services will be decided this morning (Friday) at a meeting in Eastbourne.
Last week the board of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust voted 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.
That decision came despite vocal opposition from both the Save the DGH campaign group and its Hastings counterparts Hands Off the Conquest.
Members of both bodies believe that concentrating key services on just one site will not only inconvenience patients who will be forced to travel around 20 miles down the coast for treatment, but could be lives at risk.
The Trust strongly disputes these claims and says that the plans would actually improve the standard of patient care available 24/7 to people across East Sussex.
It argues that by having specialist centres of excellence, the Trust will be better placed to recruit and retrain top clinicians and will be able to provide round the clock cover currently not available on both sites.
The Trust’s medical director Dr Andy Slater gives his argument in favour of the plans on page 14, but campaigners believe that if they are approved at this morning’s meeting, there could be a domino effect which they fear would see the DGH left as little more than a cottage hospital.
Darren Grayson, chief executive of the trust, said, “We firmly believe we have made the right recommendations for the future of healthcare in East Sussex. If implemented they will significantly improve the quality of the care patients receive.”
Today’s meeting takes place in public at The Sussex Room, Kings Centre, 27 Edison Road, between 9.30am and 1pm.
If approved by NHS Sussex, campaigners fighting the changes will have just one more chance to stop them, when the health overview and scrutiny committee meets in December.