DGH Maternity looks set to be downgraded

DGH sign
DGH sign

Maternity services at Eastbourne DGH look set to be downgraded to cope with staffing shortfalls.

East Sussex NHS Trust has issued a statement this lunchtime (March 4) to say there will be a board meeting to discuss the future of Obstetric and Neonatal across Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest in Hastings.

A spokesperson from the trust said, “The Board will consider a number of options for addressing these risks but the preferred option is to maintain the provision of a consultant-led obstetric service, neonatal service (including the Special Care Baby Unit), in-patient paediatric service and emergency gynaecology service at Conquest Hospital only and establish a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit alongside enhanced ambulatory paediatric care at Eastbourne District General Hospital.”

Darren Grayson, chief executive of the Trust, said, “We all know that it is easy to make changes after an incident has occurred.

“What is more challenging but is the right thing to do is to make changes now to ensure the service is as safe as possible to avoid any preventable risk to a mother or her baby.

“As the accountable officer I have ultimate responsibly for safety in this organisation and I have to listen and take action when senior doctors, midwifery staff and external agencies tell me it is not sustainable on safety grounds to continue as we are.”

The Trust says the proposal would be a temporary change and added, “There would still need to be a full and open dialogue with the residents of East Sussex on any proposed permanent changes to maternity services in the county”.

The Board of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust will take place on March 8 at 2.30pm at Manor Barn, 4 De La Warr Road in Bexhill.

What do you think? Comment below or email juliet.mead@eastbourneherald.co.uk.