MP says he will not stand idly by to allow Eastbourne’s DGH suffer

EASTBOURNE MP Stephen Lloyd was due today to continue his bid to protect the future of the DGH by speaking in an adjournment debate at the House of Commons.

Mr Lloyd will be speaking out in Parliament about the proposed re-configuration of the East Sussex Hospitals Trust (ESHT).

At the debate, which will be held in Westminster Hall, the Liberal Democrat MP will call on the Government to intervene to ensure the Trust follows the Government’s national guidelines to ensure all service changes are led by clinicians and patients.

The Trust has recommended significant changes to trauma and orthopaedics, General Surgery, Stroke Delivery, Emergency Care, Acute Medicine, Cardiology, Paediatrics and Child Health, and Maternity.

Following the recommendations, the Consultant Advisory Committee which is made up of the most senior clinicians at Eastbourne DGH, wrote to the Trust’s Board, expressing little or no confidence in significant elements of the strategy.

The CAC also highlighted concerns that these proposals would not advance the desire for improved access and quality of care for patients in East Sussex.

It also stated their concerns that ESHT management has described the strategy as ‘clinically led’, despite the majority consultant opinion opposed to the recommendations, as they do not believe the proposals deliver clear benefits to patients, and as such they won’t be supporting the clinical strategy in its current form.

Stephen Lloyd MP said: “Since we successfully saw off proposals to downgrade maternity five years ago, after the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and the then Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, found in our favour, nothing has changed.

“In fact, the links between Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest are even worse, and the 50 minute travel time, even with the proposed Bexhill-Hastings bypass will only reduce by five-and-a-half minutes. This is still too long, from a patient safety perspective, for example for a mother who faces a complicated birth.”

He added: “Sussex patients need good quality care for simple conditions and I am dumbfounded as to why the Department of Health encourage ‘care closer to home’ - then sanction massive movement of patients, which would be an inevitable consequence of some of the proposed changes.

“I will make it clear to the Minister I am not prepared to stand idly by and allow this to happen, and neither will Eastbourne and the surrounding area, nor any of the local political parties, the business community or the voluntary sector. We will fight these proposals vigorously and tenaciously, because we profoundly believe the long-term future of our hospital is at stake!”

Stephen Lloyd is being supported by the Save the DGH Campaign which is co-ordinating a series of initiatives to stop the changes.

Liz Walke, Chair of the Save the DGH Campaign, said: “The Save the DGH Campaign Group will do everything they can, together with the people of Eastbourne and surrounding areas, to stop any downgrading or removal or core services from the DGH.

“The DGH serves a population of more than 300,000 people and we are delighted that our local MP, Stephen Lloyd, is working tirelessly, with our neighbouring MP’s and local politicians of all colours to ensure that we keep the essential services our population’s needs.

“This debate will hopefully send a message to the local NHS that core services need to be provided at the DGH and this is non-negotiable!”

The Minister of State for Health, Simon Burns MP, will respond to Mr Lloyd during the adjournment debate.