Herald comment (August 24th): A damning indictment of DGH plans

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NHS bosses took a hammer blow to the head this week, with the most damning indictment yet of their plans to centralise key services.

That the attack came from the Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals should not dilute its importance. Here is a group whose prime role is fundraising. It doesn’t have political allegiance. It doesn’t usually speak out on issues. Its 3,000 members would rather spend their time raising money than taking on the might of the East Sussex Healthcare Trust.

But within its ranks are many who know the workings of the NHS inside out - including nurses, healthcare professionals and retired doctors and consultants.

Trust chiefs will surely squirm today at reading the condemnation of almost every facet of their framework document “Shaping Our Future”.

The Friends certainly don’t pull any punches, describing part of the document as “not only misleading but inaccurate”.

Further, they warn that the Trust is creating a domino effect that will see maternity and other vital services follow stroke treatment, general surgery and orthopaedics into a single site future.

Perhaps even more damning is the clear assertion that health chiefs are not to be trusted; that the whole plan is about hitting future financial targets and that the sums have already been done.

And then the Friends take a swipe at claims that the proposals are “broadly supported by consultants and GPs” when a leaked letter from DGH consultants indicates the opposite.

In our hour of need, we all need friends.To have 3,000 of them prepared to mobilise in a way never seen before will have given serious momentum this week to the Save The DGH campaign.

IN A week when Hampden Park was in the news for all the wrong reasons, how good to see Eastbourne Academy snatching some of the headlines. The Brodrick Road school recorded a 20 per cent improvement year on year in its number of pupils getting five or more A* to C grades,in yesterday’s GCSE results.

Across the town there were similar success stories on a day of high tension and great relief for schools and families alike. Well done to them all!