The Save the DGH team is carefully considering its next steps after health bosses made the final decision to downgrade maternity services in Eastbourne last week.
The Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) signed off on the Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (CCG) joint decision to single-site consultant-led maternity services and in-patient paediatric services to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings at a meeting on July 28.
The decision angered many Eastbourne residents, including the town’s MP Stephen Lloyd and, of course, the Save the DGH campaign team.
The group wanted the Better Beginnings Consultation to be referred to the Secretary of State and to include an Option 7 that would have the vital services at both the DGH and the Conquest.
Despite HOSC’s decision, the Save the DGH team is not giving up hope and met last Thursday (July 31) to discuss where members can move forward from here.
A statement released by the group said, “We are looking at every and any route in which we can challenge the decision to downgrade our paediatric and maternity services at EDGH.
“We are still very much focussed on having all core services at EDGH, which is all those services you need that are urgent and unplanned.
“We are still fighting but much of it depends on the information the public gives us.
“We will update you shortly with our plans but if you have any information or queries, please let us know. Thank you very much for your support.”
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd added, “Currently, we are exploring a Judicial Review and I will also be taking this and other issues from within ESHT to the Secretary of State, the CQC and other relevant NHS bodies.
“I know the ongoing news coming out from the DGH on almost a weekly basis does not look encouraging. I am contacted constantly by staff, patients and their relatives with concerns. However, it is absolutely vital that we do not give up our fight.”
The East Sussex Healthcare Trust also held a board meeting last week to discuss the implementation of Option 6, installing the changes made in May 2013 on a permanent basis. ESHT welcomed HOSC’s decision and a statement released by medical director Dr Andy Slater said, “The Trust’s primary concern has always been, and will continue to be, the safety of babies, mothers and children.
“This decision puts an end to the long-running issue of the provision of maternity services in East Sussex with the recognition that it is far safer and clinically sustainable to provide services from one consultant-led obstetric unit. It represents the best way forward to ensure safe and high-quality services.”