Trust chief rejects ‘the maternity unit myth’

Darren Grayson
Darren Grayson

HOSPITAL boss Darren Grayson tried to quash the conspiracy ‘myth’ of maternity closures at a meeting on Wednesday (March 30).

Last week Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd accused senior doctors and managers at Eastbourne DGH of trying to bring down a maternity department from within at either the DGH or Conquest Hospital in Hastings, but NHS Trust chief executive Mr Grayson rejected the claims as nonsense.

At an East Sussex Hospitals Trust board meeting Mr Grayson revealed inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will have paid a return visit to the hospitals by today (April 1) to see if their concerns had been dealt with.

But he refused to reveal what the Trust was doing to improve patient safety and staffing in maternity and A&E departments – the subject of the critical CQC report.

“We continue to work with the CQC on the concerns they raised and I would like to take this opportunity to scotch the unfounded rumours that we are about to close one of our maternity departments.

“This is not the case and it is disruptive and unhelpful to staff and patients for this myth to be perpetuated,” said Mr Grayson.

Campaigners welcomed the pledge, but confessed they still have their doubts. Chair of the Save the DGH Campaign, Liz Walke said the issue is likely to rear its head again.

She agreed with Mr Lloyd’s claims in the Gazette that problems persist because senior maternity staff – who believe one site would be safer – are still calling the shots.

She said, “Perhaps I’m just being pedantic, but I wasn’t convinced.

“The problem is the people who want a single site are still in posts and that’s what they believe is the best way of working.

“They’re not looking at other ways of working and I don’t know how they’re going to address the CQC concerns and give them a solution to the problem.”