Trust’s response to doctors’ claims paediatric service is unsafe

The trust that runs the DGH has responded to claims by top doctors at the hospital that changes to the paediatric service are unsafe.

Consultant paediatricians at the hospital have contacted Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd following their concerns and comes two weeks after the changes came into effect that saw the DGH become a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit and also mean children can no longer stay overnight in the Friston Ward.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said that it has taken ‘immediate actions’ to address the issues raised and further improve the safety of the service.

The nine senior clinicians who contacted Mr Lloyd and local and national bodies said, ‘We met with our chief executive last week to press our concerns and proposed solution, which is an immediate return to the status quo for acute paediatricians so that any changes of configuration needed could be brought safely.

“We advised the chief executive that if acceptable safety could not be restored that we had duties to our patients, our local population, our profession, our regulators and the law to take our concerns outside the trust to seek a resolution.

“We were assured that urgent steps would be taken by the end of last week.

“In our view, the minimal steps which have been taken are inadequate and icidents with patients bver the last few days, in our view, confirm the seriousness of the situation.

“The acute paediatric service in East Sussex is unsafe and is at risk of catastrophies and serious failure.”

A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “During the planning phase and more recently the Trust’s senior doctors and management have met with the consultant paediatricians at Eastbourne to understand the issues underlying their concerns.

“We have taken appropriate and immediate actions to address the issues raised and further improve the safety of the service. “We have also taken the views of clinicians both internally and externally including the lead doctor for paediatrics across Sussex on whether we have appropriate policies and arrangements in place.

“We have worked extensively with our partners across the health economy to establish effective arrangements in response to the changes made to maternity and paediatric services. There is no evidence that it will be safer to revert to providing the inpatient service on two sites as proposed by the eastbourne paediatricians.

“We hope that the consultant paediatricians will continue to engage constructively in discussions in the detail of the operation of the new service configuration and are arranging further meetings with them to this end.”