Mum tells PM about DGH concerns

Mandy Mulford
Mandy Mulford

A mum from Eastbourne has flagged up her concerns over changes to services at the DGH with the Prime Minister.

Mandy Mulford had a chance meeting with David Cameron when he happened to join Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt on a visit to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital where Alexander was staying for treatment.

Mr Hunt was attending last Friday (July 5) to mark the 65 year anniversary of the NHS and while he was there Mrs Mulford, who was with her 18-month-old son Alexander was able to speak to him over her concerns that mean children can no longer stay overnight at the Friston Ward.

The Willingdon resident’s son has Dravet’s Syndrome, meaning he suffers from a severe form of epilepsy.

She said, “I spoke to Jeremy Hunt first about the changes at the Friston Ward and what the road is like between here and Hastings. The Prime Minister also came over and I brought up the issue of the DGH with him as well.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to talk about the DGH as much as possible.

“My son spends a lot of time in hospital and if he needs to stay overnight he has to go to Hastings.”

During the visit there was a lighter moment when her son was making hand prints with paint and got some on the Prime Minister’s white shirt.

The mum-of-two said Mr Cameron had been putting his hand in the paint with Alexander when it happened.

She added, “His aides looked horrified but he brushed it off and said he would be wearing a jacket for the day.

“I feel Alexander left his mark and hopefully it will remind him what I had to say about the DGH and Alexander’s condition.”

NHS bosses made the decision back in March to see the Eastbourne hospital become a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit and to maintain a consultant-led obstetric service at the Conquest in Hastings. The changes also mean that children can no longer stay overnight in the Friston Ward.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the DGH, said the decision to change services was made purely on the grounds of safety and is a temporary measure.

Darren Grayson, chief executive of the trust, previously told the Herald that any decision over the future of the services after the 18 month temporary period would be made by the Clinical Commissioning Groups.