Campaigners say they are bitterly disappointed at options which mean the end of consultant-led maternity services at both Eastbourne and Hastings.
They spoke out after Clinical Commissioning Groups in East Sussex agreed six potential options for the future of maternity and paediatric services in the county at a meeting last week.
The six options for Eastbourne, Hastings and Crowborough include the provision of obstetric-led maternity services, two midwife-led birthing units and an overnight “in-patient” paediatric ward in East Sussex. There would continue to be a short-stay paediatric assessment unit at both Eastbourne and Hastings. Four of the six options include the retention of a midwife-led unit at Crowborough. Under each of the options, emergency gynaecology services would be located at the same site as obstetrics.
The main difference from the service as it was provided before the temporary changes of May 2013 is that the options do not include the provision of obstetrics and in-patient paediatrics on both hospital sites. Dr Martin Writer, chair of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, said, “We are satisfied these six options represent the best opportunity to provide safe and high quality services for local people in the long term. We are pleased to proceed with these options and are preparing to launch widespread public consultation in January.
“We have no preferred option or sites for these services at this stage. We want to have a genuine conversation with the public, patients, clinicians and our local partners about the challenges and opportunities presented by these options before making a decision next summer.”
Save the DGH spokeswoman Liz Walke said the fight to keep consultant led maternity at both sites would continue and campaigners would keep looking at options.