Residents are being asked their views as the future of local maternity and paediatric services are considered.
The GP-led bodies responsible for commissioning healthcare in East Sussex are inviting the public to help shape options for the future of the services and share their experiences and opinions.
Back in March the decision was made by NHS bosses to see the DGH become a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit and to maintain a consultant-led obstetric service at the Conquest in Hastings. The changes also mean that children are no longer able to stay overnight in the Friston Ward at the Eastbourne hospital.
The temporary changes came about in May with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust saying the decision had been made on the grounds of safety.
The decision on how these services will be offered in the longer term is the responsibility of the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in East Sussex.
The CCGs are now engaging with local communities and stakeholders to help determine how these services can be provided
in a safe and high-quality way in the long term.
Dr Matt Jackson, Seaford GP and Clinical Chief Officer Elect of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, said, “The CCGs are fully committed to establishing safe, high-quality and sustainable health services for women and children in East Sussex in the longer term.
“We want the public and patients to consider the case for changing these services and help inform options for how they might be delivered in future in a way that meets the needs of local families.
“There are no proposals for change as yet. We are seeking the public’s help in developing future options.”
Senior doctors, midwives and other health professionals across Sussex have agreed a set of standards for maternity and paediatric care based on best practice and developed a clinical Case for Change.
The Case for Change indicates that birth numbers in excess of 2,500 per unit are required to ensure an obstetric-led maternity service can meet the required standards and be safely sustained. Birth rates at both East Sussex units are significantly below that with the figure at the Conquest Hospital being 1,865 and 1,973 at the DGH in 2012/13.
The Clinical Commissioning Groups are now inviting the public and other key stakeholders to respond and feed back to the Case for Change, which has been published on the CCG websites.
This summer the CCGs will be holding events, workshops and focus groups with the public, patients and stakeholders to discuss the Case for Change.
A series of interviews will be conducted with patients who have used maternity and paediatric services before and since the
temporary changes in order to gain insight about their experiences.
The CCGs are encouraging local people to read the summary of the Case for Change and complete a short survey giving their views. CCGs will use feedback from this discussion, plus clinical evidence, to inform the development of long-term options for these services.
For further information and to access the short online survey visit: www.eastbournehailshamandseafordccg.nhs.uk .
To register for updates or express an interest in taking part in workshops or focus groups email: HRCCG.Betterbeginnings@nhs.net