New parents invited to DGH focus groups

Eastbourne DGH, District General Hospital. July 19th 2013 E30009P
Eastbourne DGH, District General Hospital. July 19th 2013 E30009P

New parents are being asked to take part in focus groups as part of the consultation on maternity and paediatric services at Eastbourne DGH.

New mothers and parents with recent experience of maternity and paediatric services are being asked for their views as part of a review of local provision.

The services are under review following the publication of a year-long Sussex-wide clinical study led by senior local doctors, midwives and other health professionals.

This led to the unpopular decision to downgrade services at the DGH to include a midwifery-led unit only at the DGH and a consultant-led maternity unit at the Conquest in Hastings back in May 2013.

The Case for Change, a document put forward by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT), concludes that the provision of maternity services before the temporary changes did not consistently meet safety and quality standards.

ESHT has said it introduced the temporary changes to maternity and paediatric on safety grounds.

The three GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in East Sussex are now inviting local people to have their say through focus groups.

Dr Martin Writer, chair of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group, said, “As local doctors and commissioners the CCGs are committed to establishing safe, high-quality and sustainable health services for women and children in East Sussex.

“The temporary changes at ESHT and the Case for Change clearly place a duty on us to consider these services.

“At this stage no decisions have been made and we have no proposals for the future.

“We are seeking the public’s help in developing future options and these focus groups are designed specifically for us to learn from the experiences of recent service users.

“We want to widen the discussion as far as possible and I encourage people to go to our websites, find out more and complete the online survey.”

ESHT said the focus groups are part of a range of ‘engagement activities’ planned this summer.

CCGs will use feedback from this discussion, plus clinical evidence, to inform the development of long-term options for these services.

The focus groups will take place on August 13 between 10am and noon at Diplocks Hall in Hailsham and then at Community Wise in Old Town from 1.30pm and 3.30pm on the same day.

Another focus group will be held at Community Wise on August 29 between 10am and noon.

To register for updates or express an interest in taking part in workshops or focus groups email HRCCG.Betterbeginnings@nhs.net

For more on Case for Change survey www.eastbournehailshamandseafordccg.nhs.uk.