Controversial changes to maternity services and paediatric services took place at the DGH on Tuesday with the trust saying the introduction had gone smoothly.
The news that the Eastbourne hospital would become a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit and that children would no longer be able to stay overnight at the Friston Ward has led to protests from the Save the DGH group, Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and concerned residents and parents.
A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “The introduction of the temporary changes to maternity and paediatric services has gone very smoothly, with the day of the changes (Tuesday) seeing the most births at Conquest Hospital and DGH in any one day since the beginning of April. A total of 14 babies were born at the Conquest on Tuesday, seven of these were to mothers who, before the changes, would have given birth at Eastbourne DGH. In the first 24 hours, two babies were born in the Midwifery Led Unit at the DGH and both mothers have spoken warmly of their experience in the unit. There were no babies in the Special Care Baby Unit at the time of the changes, so there was no need to transfer any babies across to the Conquest Hospital and the unit was able to close as planned. In paediatrics, there were six children on Friston ward at Eastbourne DGH during the day on Tuesday, none of these required an overnight stay and so again, there was no need to transfer any patients across to the Conquest Hospital.”
Baby Bethany Fifield was the first little one to be born at the midwifery led unit at the DGH on Tuesday. Mum Melanie Fifield said, “I was a bit concerned obviously because of the changes and I didn’t know what to expect. But I spoke to the midwives and they said as long as I had a healthy pregnancy, was low risk and happy to give birth in Eastbourne then we could go ahead with that. Both the DGH and Conquest spoke to me about my options when I was in labour and where I would like to go. They were very professional and friendly.”
Mia Grace McVoy was the last Caesarean baby born at the DGH before the changes came into place.