Herald Comment: DGH decision leaves a sick feeling in the pit of patients’ stomachs

Yesterday’s brutal decision by HOSC to uphold single-site proposals for the DGH will have left a sick feeling in the stomachs of thousands of patients – past, present and future.

When it rubber-stamped the plans, the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee dealt a fatal (and, yes, sooner or later it literally will mean fatal) blow to the people of Eastbourne and East Sussex.

It should have said NO.

It should have been brave enough to refer the matter to the Secretary of State and to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. As MP Stephen Lloyd said, anything else would be reckless.

Sadly, reckless they were. They closed the only road left open to defeat the plan.

And in closing that route, they forced patients down another - the A259 - with frightening consequences.

How long before we descend into the depths of winter and the Herald reports of a bleak February night and traffic chaos. How long before we report our first tragedy of a patient in transit?

So where next? We must lick our wounds and the fight must go on. This may be a shocking day for Eastbourne but there will be worse to follow if the loss of general surgery lead to the axing of A&E provision.

If that happens, we are just one step away from becoming a community hospital. That must never happen.