It’s time for the Herald to support the Save the DGH campaign

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THE MAIN job of a newspaper is to report recent events without bias. It is not the place of a reporter to let their opinions slip into their stories.

However, as with any rule, there are exceptions – particularly on a local newspaper like the Herald.

Sometimes stories come along that are just too important not to take a stance over and the possible downgrading of key services at the DGH is one such occasion.

As a local newspaper we not only try and inform the community but also represent it.

For that we make no apology. When we broke the news that bosses within East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust were once again looking at reducing vital services at the DGH we were as appalled as anyone.

Eastbourne is a growing town with a population approaching 100,000. Then there are the satelite communities of Hailsham, Polegate and Seaford. Conservative estimates put the number of people who fall into the DGH’s catchment area as around 250,000. If that number of people does not deserve a fully equipped hospital, we don’t know what would.

It is true that not every service would be lost from the DGH if the controversial proposals go ahead. Some of them would remain in Eastbourne at the expense of Hastings. That however should not placate anyone. The fact that ANY services are being earmarked for downgrading at either the DGH or its sister site is not acceptable.

The Herald revealed last year that the trust had splashed upwards of £4million on advice from outside consultants. Not only was that clearly not money well spent if the only suggestions they came up with was to cut vital departments, but surely it was cash which would have been better used propping up the services every resident in every town should be able to take for granted.

Next week will be publishing details of how you, the readers, can get involved in the campaign.

There will be posters to put up, letters to write and marches to attend.

Until then we ask simply that you ready yourselves for another fight.

It is time to save the DGH. Again.