The Save the DGH group is calling on the chief executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to resign, following the decision to leave the Eastbourne hospital with a midwifery-led maternity unit.
The group met at the Town Hall on Saturday to discuss a strategy to fight the plans and as a result are calling on chief executive Darren Grayson, chairman Stuart Welling and the board which runs the DGH to stand down.
Liz Walke, chairman of Save the DGH, said, “I think the meeting went extremely well.
“We heard about the fear which has gone into the people of Eastbourne and women who found out they were pregnant and expected to give birth in Eastbourne and in the later stages of pregnancy they are told to go to Hastings, some don’t even know where the hospital is.
“It should be such a happy occasion and they want to give birth in Eastbourne.
“They don’t want to go to Hastings.”
It’s not the first time that maternity services at the DGH have been under threat. The downgrading of the maternity services was fiercely fought by Save the DGH campaigners before and they won their battle to retain services at the DGH five years ago.
Earlier this month the trust said that it had been advised by doctors, midwives and nurses together with the National Clinical Advisory Team that the current maternity and paediatric services in East Sussex cannot continue as they are at present.
The Save the DGH group is also looking into alternative ways to keep core services at the DGH.
Mrs Walke added, “I would encourage people to speak to their GPs and ask what they think and what services they feel should be provided for their patients.
“East Sussex Health Overview Scrutiny Committee is meeting on Thursday and we are hoping that they will refer this decision to the Secretary of State for Health.
“We think the decision in 2008 by the Secretary of State of Health on recommendation from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to keep both consultant-led maternity units open should be upheld.
“We’re going to fight this. It’s not acceptable and we’re not going to just let this happen.”
A spokesperson from East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust said, “We understand the concerns of local people, however the decision to make these temporary changes are purely on the grounds of safety.
“We have listened to the serious concerns raised by all our obstetricians, senior midwives and the majority of our paediatricians and the external expert advice in obstetrics and paediatrics.
“We have a responsibility for ensuring that mothers, babies and children receive the safest possible care.
“We reiterate that any permanent changes to the service will be subject to a full public consultation within the next 18 months.”
• So far more than 700 people have joined the Facebook group called: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Grays onsgottogo/