Council remains wary over future of DGH maternity

EASTBOURNE Borough Council remains ‘wary’ and ‘suspicious’ that maternity services at the DGH may be closed and has pledged to once again fight against any such decision by the hospital trust.

Councillors unanimously agreed a motion to ‘reaffirm its commitment to the provision of consultant-led maternity services at both Eastbourne DGH and Hastings’ Conquest Hospital’ at a council meeting at Eastbourne Town Hall on Wednesday evening (April 20).

The motion, put forward by leader of the council Cllr David Tutt, also called upon the board of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to confirm it will continue to provide the service at both hospitals ‘for the benefit of the local community’.

This comes after fears about the closure of the maternity unit at Eastbourne DGH were quashed by the Trust. Back in 2008 the council and campaigners brought about a judicial review to stop the closure of the unit and have pledged to do the same again. Liz Walke, a hospital champion who was made Freeman of the Borough for her work on the Save the DGH Campaign, spoke at the meeting and thanked the councillors for their continued support. She said that although the Trust has said it would not be closing maternity services she remained ‘wary’. Mrs Walke said, “The nation’s financial situation is dire but core services are not negotiable.”

Cllr Tutt agreed with Liz and said he was ‘deeply suspicious’

“Let them be assured that this council, cross-party, and the campaign group will fight any such move every inch of the way,” said Cllr Tutt.

And Cllr Colin Belsey, from the opposition, said, “I am amazed we are here again today with an item like this on the agenda.

“It frightens me immensely.”

Cllr Belsey spoke about 2008’s judicial review and said, “We did it and we won and we will fight again - they do not want that to happen again.”

The council agreed to work with Hastings’ campaign group to ensure maternity services also remained at The Conquest.