Hospital group is preparing proposal

Save the DGH campaigner Liz Walke, pictured receiving her Freedom of the Borough of Eastbourne certificate
Save the DGH campaigner Liz Walke, pictured receiving her Freedom of the Borough of Eastbourne certificate

A CAMPAIGN group is preparing its proposal for reforms to maternity services as hospital managers launch a review.

The Save the DGH Campaign is pushing for staff changes rather than a maternity unit closure at either Eastbourne DGH or Conquest Hospital.

The action group has slammed the review, calling it a waste of time and money. Chair of the group Liz Walke said, “I’m staggered that they’re having another review.

“It’s a total waste of money and we don’t believe they should have started it.

“However, we do want to contribute to it because we want our voice to be heard. But that does not mean we agree with the review.”

Four years ago when East Sussex Hospitals Trust put forward proposals to close – which would force expectant mothers to make the 21-mile journey between the two hospitals – campaigners fought off the plans.

Since then hospital chiefs have said staffing problems have made current maternity services too expensive and are ‘unsustainable’.

At a recent meeting with a health services advisory body, Trust chief executive Darren Grayson said hospitals struggled to recruit middle grade doctors for the wards.

He said the two small maternity units proved highly unpopular training destinations for doctors who want to specialise.

He added that temporary replacement staff were expensive and it could often lead to safety concerns. Four years ago campaigners drummed up a solution which would take middle grade doctors out of the equation.

With a fresh threat to maternity services, Save the DGH is trotting out the same solution which it says would be no more expensive than the current setup.

A Trust spokesman said, “We are open minded to all viable options as we consider how the Trust can best deliver safe, sustainable, high quality maternity services for mothers and babies in East Sussex in the future.” The review is expected to last several months.