THOUSANDS of people are expected to head to Eastbourne seafront this weekend to join the Save the DGH march protest march against controversial plans to centralise key NHS services.
Organisers of the demonstration want to see 5,000 people take a stand over East Sussex Healthcare Trust proposal to run stroke care, general surgery and orthopaedics at only the DGH or sister hospital in Hastings. At the moment all three services are provided on both sites.
The Trust maintains the move will improve the quality of care and help attract more skilled consultants to the area, but the Save the DGH campaign group is adamant the changes will put local lives at risk.
Liz Walke, who heads the Save the DGH team, said she hoped the community would show the same determination and enthusiasm it displayed in 2006 when thousands marched against plans to downgrade maternity.
Ms Walke, who has spent the last few days frantically leafletting local homes and businesses to drum up support, said, “We have got to fight and by marching we can show the strength of feeling against these plans.
“If thousands march, the local NHS will have to listen.”
She has also warned that any centralisation of these services would kick-start a domino effect and could leave Eastbourne with little more than a village hospital – although this is strongly denied by Trust management.
Anyone who wants to join the protest march should head to the Redoubt Fortress on the seafront for a 10am start on Saturday.