Hospital campaigners positive after meeting

Seaford Health Cuts Campaigners March, April 13th 2013 E16034P'Save The DGH Campaigner Liz Walke
Seaford Health Cuts Campaigners March, April 13th 2013 E16034P'Save The DGH Campaigner Liz Walke

Save the DGH chairman Liz Walke said the group remains positive following a meeting with the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) over the controversial decision to temporarily downgrade maternity services at the DGH.

Around 12 people from the campaign group met Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG at the town Hall last week to discuss the changes.

Mrs Walke said, “I think it was a very good meeting. I think the CCG is very keen to work with us and other patient groups.

“What we are questioning is what the (CCG) see as the core services as they also believe core services should stay in Eastbourne.

“What they did make clear is that if they (the CCG) are going to go ahead with proposals they want the pubic public to be notified and made fully aware.

“I think the meeting was not long enough and we definitely need to meet again.”

The meeting follows the decision 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. East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said it is a temporary measure adding it had been advised by doctors, midwives and nurses, together with the National Clinical Advisory Team that maternity and paediatric services at both hospitals could not continue in their present format, due to safety reasons.

Mrs Walke added, “We are positive but we would have hoped the meeting would have gone further and established exactly what the core services are in their mind which need to be kept at Eastbourne DGH.”

During the meeting chair Martin Writer said that if Eastbourne DGH had been chosen as the site to run a consultant-led obstetric service along with a neonatal service and other facilities then it would have had to be a permanent move rather than a temporary one because of the amount of changes needed to have been made.

A spokesperson for Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG said, “We were pleased to engage in discussion with the Save the DGH Campaign Group around the temporary changes and longer term plans for Maternity and Paediatric services in East Sussex.

“We want transparent, informed debate about the issues involved so that any long-term decisions are informed by local opinion as well as clinical evidence about what is best for our local population.

“We will continue to involve the wider public in discussions about all the services we commission and welcome input from the Campaign Group in these discussions.

“Our commitment is to deliver healthcare that best meets the needs of the local population we serve and our overriding priority is to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and sustainable services.

“The short term solution to ensure safety of mothers and babies will not pre-judge any future decision making around a longer term sustainable solution.”