Healthcampaigners are urging Herald readers to support their alternative plans for proposed changes to services at the DGH.
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has put forward six alternatives to the current provisions in a number of key departments, including paediatrics and maternity, both at the DGH and the Conquest.
However, none of the choices currently being looked at make allowances for consultant led services at both sites – instead favouring a consult-led department at one hospital and a non-consultant-led department at the other.
The trust maintains the changes are necessary to make sure local residents have access to top level clinicians – with management arguing neither hospital on its own has the patient footfall to attract the highest calibre experts. Centralising certain services on one site would, the trust argues, result in the best possible care.
However, Save the DGH campaigners still believe running consultant-led services at both sites is feasible and wants locals to respond to a current trust consultation by backing an alternative proposal, or Option Seven as it has been dubbed.
Option Seven would see both hospitals keep consultant-led maternity services, emergency gynaecology and in-patient paediatrics. It also suggests each site maintain a level one special care baby unit and a short stay paediatric assessment unit.
Campaign chairman Liz Walke said, “The decision concerning the permanent removal of maternity and paediatrics at the DGH is due to be made in June and public consultation finishes on April 8. Success for the campaign is far from guaranteed, but we need to speak out now as it likely will be the last chance. Please don’t complain later if we permanently lose these services as it will then be too late.
“There’s no doubt the permanent removal of consultant maternity and paediatric services will ultimately affect you and further core services will likely be downgraded and/or removed. This is why we are asking you to take action by emailing Better Beginnings and East Sussex HOSC and say you would like Option Seven – The Campaign Option. “
She wants readers to send their preference for Option Seven to both: Better Beginnings, East Sussex CCG’s, Freepost SEA2474, BN8 2ZZ (no stamp needed) and East Sussex HOSC, County Hall, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 1TN. Alternatively it can be emailed to both: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.savethedgh.org.uk.