DGH campagigners disappointed by meeting

Save the DGH campaigners have been left disappointed after a meeting (Thursday) yesterday in which they say the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) did not stop the temporary downgrade of maternity and paediatric units at the DGH.

HOSC, people from the DGH group, the board of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and Lindsey Stevens, the consultant head of midwifery at the DGH were among those at the meeting which took place at County Hall in Lewes.

Liz Walke, chairman of Save the DGH, said it was disappointed but added, “However ,HOSC are writing to the Secretary of State for Health and they have also said that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) which runs Eastbourne DGH, cannot make any changes on a permanent basis to enable consultant-led maternity to return to Eastbourne DGH.

“It was clear at this meeting that Chief Executive, Darren Grayson, of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust stating several times that the independent decision of experts on the request of the Secretary of State for Health, to keep consultant-led maternity at EDGH in 2008, was the wrong one.

“He has effectively dismissed all the work undertaken by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), with its experts and in-depth enquiry, and the subsequent directive from the Secretary of State for Health, saying that their decision was wrong.”

Mrs Walke says she feels the trust should have looked at staffing the two consultant-led units by looking at different ways of staffing.

Earlier this month NHS bosses agreed to a preferred option which is to maintain a consultant-led obstetric service, neo-natal service (including Special Care Baby Unit), have an in-patient paediatric service and an emergency gynaecology service at the Conquest Hospital only and establish a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit at the DGH.

The trust says it has been advised by doctors, midwives and nurses, together with the National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT), that the current maternity and paediatric services in East Sussex cannot continue as they are at present.