NHS decision-makers want to hear from local people about the sort of maternity service they want ahead of planned changes to the service here in East Sussex.
Earlier this year East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust introduced temporary changes to local maternity and paediatric services on safety grounds.
And the decision on what to do with the services in the long term rests with a GP-led body, or clinical commissioning group (CCG) of which there are three in the immediate area.
These CCGs have starting consulting locals on their experiences and expectations with a view to formalising how maternity and paediatrics can be best provided in the future,
Since the temporary shift, the Conquest has acted as the area’s consultant-led unit, with a midwife orientated department at Eastbourne’s District General Hospital (DGH).
Part of the problem is the volume of births at each site.
In 2012/13 there were 1,973 births at the DGH and 1,865 at the Conquest.
Experts believe around 2,500 births is the benchmark for making sure an obstetric-led maternity unit can meet the required standards of safety.
This is partly due to the relative difficulty in recruiting top consultants to smaller units, with many of the most skilled professionals preferring busy hospitals where their skills can be better honed.
To read more about the consultation and to take part in a short online survey visit www.eastbournehailshamandseafordccg.nhs.uk or www.hastingsandrotherccg.nhs.uk .
Alternatively, email HRCCG.Betterbeginnings@nhs.net.