Group will challenge the hospital decision

Liz Walke at the Save the DGH protest march around the hospital on September 7th 2013 E37134P ENGSUS00120130909085157
Liz Walke at the Save the DGH protest march around the hospital on September 7th 2013 E37134P ENGSUS00120130909085157
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Save the DGH campaigners are planning to legally challenge the decision to downgrade maternity and paediatric services.

Liz Walke, who has worked tirelessly to safeguard core services at the town’s local hospital, has this week told the Herald she will present the letter to the chief executive of East Sussex County Council. The document will inform the authority campaigners are seeking legal advice to challenge the decision made on July 28 at the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) meeting agreeing to the downgrade.

The letter, which outlines the reasons for the challenge, was hand-delivered by Mrs Walke at a HOSC meeting yesterday morning (Thursday).

This month, two women have given birth in the back of ambulances on their way to Hastings from Eastbourne.

Liz Walke and the Save the DGH supporters say a midwife-led unit at Eastbourne DGH is not sufficient for a town the size of Eastbourne. They say the move by health bosses , which was agreed by HOSC, is unsafe.

A legal challenge against a HOSC decision has not been made before.

Liz Walke said, “This is unprecedented as there has never been a legal challenge to a decision made by a Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) before.

“All we were asking HOSC for was an independent inquiry into the decision as when this happened before in 2008 the local NHS were stopped and not able to do what they planned as it was not safer for women and children then.

“This has now been given the go-ahead. How can this be safer?

“We already know of two births in an ambulance in September. This cannot be safer.”

A spokesperson from East Sussex County Council told the Herald the letter had been received from but the council did not want to comment at this time.