The town’s MP was in Parliament this week to seek assurances that top doctors at the DGH who came forward to say the paediatric services are unsafe for children will not face reprisals.
Stephen Lloyd spoke on the issue as part of Prime Minister’s Questions after consultant paediatricians publicly came out against changes at the hospital and contacted him with their concerns.
On Tuesday night the Care Quality Commission met with the paediatric consultants at the DGH to discuss their concerns where Mr Lloyd said it emerged that they had felt intimidated for raising their fears. He explained, “I do have growing concerns that the trust may seek reprisals against the clinicians who spoke out in the name of child safety and took the opportunity to get the Prime Minister’s gurantee that nothing adverse would happen to them.”
The Prime Minister responded by saying, “There should always be safeguards for people who whistle blow and for people who tell the truth about problems in our NHS.”
A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “The trust takes any concern in relation to bullying and harassment, including intimidation, very seriously.
“We have Grievance, Dignity at Work (which includes bullying and harassment) and Whistleblowing policies in place for staff to use when they have concerns of this type.
“In addition should a member of staff be concerned about confidentiality they have the opportunity to raise their concerns with our Senior Independent Board Director.”
“To date no allegations of intimidation have been made through these routes or any other as a result of the consultant paediatricians at the DGH raising concerns about the safety of the paediatric service.
“We would encourage our consultant paediatricians to raise any concerns through these routes so that we can investigate them fully in line with our policies.
A spokesperson for the Care Quality Commission added, “CQC is well aware of concerns which have been raised by the paediatric consultants at Eastbourne District General Hospital.
“CQC has also received concerns about the trust from Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and has previously met with him.
“Our inspectors will be monitoring these issues closely as part of their on-going regulatory work.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”