Emergency and high risk surgery services moved to Hastings’ Conquest Hospital at the weekend.
The decision to centralise these services was made last year following a public consultation and hospital bosses claim the unpopular decision will improve the quality of care that the Trust is able to offer to patients.
As the majority of patients requiring emergency surgery are taken to hospital by ambulance or referred directly by their GP, members of the public should not change the way they access health services as a result of this move – said a DGH spokesperson.
The changes mean that ambulances will now be able to take patients requiring emergency surgery directly to the Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) at Conquest Hospital, bypassing the need to go through A&E. GPs will also be able to refer patients directly to the unit.
A small number of planned (elective) operations will now take place at Conquest Hospital rather than Eastbourne DGH, and those patients affected will be notified of this change. These include the more complex operations, cases where doctors think the patient may need to have a follow-up procedure if there are complications.
However, these changes will mean the vast majority of patients who use the Trust’s services will not notice any difference as the majority of planned operations and procedures, day case surgery, outpatient clinics, diagnostic tests and admissions for all other medical conditions will continue to be provided on both acute hospital sites as before, added the spokesperson.
Dr Andy Slater, medical director – strategy, said, “We firmly believe the changes to emergency and high risk surgery will improve the quality of care we are able to provide to patients now and in the future in East Sussex. With patients requiring emergency surgery being taken directly to the surgical unit, they will benefit from faster surgical assessment and care on a dedicated surgical ward. By having all emergency and high risk surgery based on one site, we will have more surgeons available to carry out planned procedures and an on-call surgeon to deal with any patients needing emergency care.”