A last-ditch attempt to save the maternity services at the DGH will be made at a meeting of the health watchdog committee next month.
The Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) will meet for the final time on July 10 to comment on the decision made by the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) on Wednesday to permanently downgrade maternity services at the DGH (see page five).
Just like at HOSC’s last meeting, a motion will be put forward to refer the issue to the Secretary of State for Health following the belief that the Better Beginnings consultation was flawed for not including Option Seven – consultant-led maternity services at two sites. The motion failed by six votes to five at the previous meeting.
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said, “The motion expressed the view that there had been a shortfall in the consultation process with the omission of option seven. It didn’t say that we were 100 per cent right and the CCG totally wrong. What is proposed was the whole issue should be referred up to the Secretary of State for Health for proper independent clinical scrutiny. The final decision that could permanently rob us of our vital consultant-led maternity unit and inpatient paediatric service will be coming on July 10 at the next HOSC committee, so it is absolutely imperative that everybody writes to the councillors on HOSC asking that they support full maternity provision at our hospitals.”
Option seven was disregarded by the Better Beginnings consultation for not adhering to their models of care, particularly around recruitment and training of staff in Eastbourne.
Monica Corrina-Kavakli from the SavetheDGH campaign said, “The CCG’s decision was the one we all feared – they haven’t listened to us, but we will keep fighting to the end.”
Cllr Caroline Ansell added, “I wasn’t surprised but still utterly dismayed by the decision made. The highest authority in the land, back in 2008, ruled that both the DGH and Conquest needed consultant-led care. What has changed since then? Not the slow, winding and unreliable road to Hastings, nor the poor public transport.
“I am a DGH mum and know what it is to need urgent consultant intervention. What now, what next? We regroup.”