Protesters want talks on changes

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The Save the DGH group has requested a meeting with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to discuss controversial changes to maternity services at the Eastbourne hospital.

Liz Walke, chairman of the group, hopes the board will challenge East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust following the decision to see the Eastbourne hospital establish a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit.

She has filed off a letter to Dr Martin Writer who chairs for the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG.

At the beginning of this month CCGs replaced Primary Care Trusts in one of the biggest ever NHS shake-ups. GPs in 22 practices formally came together on April 1 as the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG with responsibility, and a £231 million budget, for purchasing the majority of health services for 180,000 people.

Mrs Walke is hoping it may help the campaign group in its bid to stop the downgrading of services at the DGH.

She said, “We want to know their views about maternity because in 2008 the GPs were not backing changes to maternity and were opposed to it.

“We want the CCG to actually challenge the trust even at this late stage to see if it can stop the changes going ahead.

“We need a consultant led maternity unit in Eastbourne.”

The mother-of-four said she was ‘outraged’ after the decision to leave the DGH with a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit alongside enhanced ambulatory paediatric care, with other services such as neonatal service and a consultant-led obstetric service based at the Conquest in Hastings.

A CCG spokesperson said, “We have received a request from Liz Walke and are in talks with the DGH campaign group about a meeting.

“We are committed to delivering healthcare that best meets the needs of the local population we serve and our overriding priority is to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and sustainable services.

“To date, we have already held three Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG meetings in public and through a series of planned engagement events will continue to involve the wider public in discussions about all the services we commission.”