Polegate and Seaford MP Norman Baker said he is boycotting the consultation into the future of health services at the DGH because of the ‘lack of positive options’ put forward for residents.
The options, published by the three local Clinical Commissioning Groups, do not include consultant-led maternity at both the DGH and Conquest Hospital. Mr Baker said, “This consultation is, I am afraid, a choice without a difference. It just asks us which of six different ways we want to downgrade our hospital.
“It seems the salami slicing of the DGH which we have seen under the present management has now been accepted as fact by some, but it hasn’t by me.”
Frank Sims, chief officer of High Weald Lewes Havens CCG, said, “We know campaigners feel strongly that consultant-led maternity and in-patient paediatrics should be provided at both Eastbourne and Hastings. We also know from our extensive public engagement that people want safe and high quality services and these have to be our main priorities as GP-led commissioning groups.
“There is a wide range of compelling evidence that has led local clinicians to conclude that we cannot maintain safe consultant-led maternity services on two smaller sites. Since the temporary changes were introduced there have been significant improvements to safety despite some women being required to travel further, as outlined in our consultation document.
“Mr Baker’s assertion that all six of the options would result in a reduction of services at the DGH is not accurate. Half of the six options include the provision of consultant-led maternity and in-patient paediatric services at the DGH.”