A petition to ‘Save the DGH’ has now gained more than 23,500 signatures.
Campaign chairman of ‘Save the DGH’ Liz Walke said the group had collected more than 12,000 signatures online, and another 11,000 on paper.
Ms Walke said, “We would like to thank Bill Plumbridge and Barry Reece from the shopping centres, Graham and Sue Appleby and the many, many people who have helped and supported us by achieving this spectacular total – nearly 11,000 written names in a week with another 12,666 names online is quite staggering!
“Surely this must change things – all we’re asking for is an independent inquiry into maternity which in 2008 said consultant-led maternity must stay!
“What are the local NHS afraid of? We will now establish the best way forward with our solicitors/barristers and local politicians.”
The campaign started the petition to ‘keep local services for local people’, after maternity and paediatric services at Eastbourne District General Hospital were downgraded.
In response to the petition, Amanda Philpott, chief officer of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and Hastings and Rother CCG, said, “It is understandable that some people may have concerns about the prospect of travelling further to receive certain hospital services.
“However it has been clearly proven that the single-siting of specialist services is resulting in safer and better care for patients, despite some people having to travel further.
“Consultant-led maternity (centralised at the Conquest since May 2013), and emergency stroke care (centralised at the Eastbourne DGH since July 2013), have shown particular improvement in clinical care, regardless of where you live.”
“These decisions were made by local clinicians for safety and quality reasons, informed by widespread consultation and the best available evidence.
“The services have been subject to independent review from expert bodies including the National Clinical Advisory Team, Care Quality Commission and Royal Colleges, and we can confidently demonstrate they are providing safer, better care for local people.”