Please don’t desert Friends of DGH

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First emergency and complex General Surgery and emergency and complex Orthopaedics, now Consultant led Maternity, emergency Gynaecology, Special Care Baby Unit and in-patient Paediatrics are to be single-sited at the Conquest Hospital – albeit these latter proposals are said to be of a temporary nature.

It is not surprising that local residents are wondering what next.

What is the position of the Friends of the Eastbourne Hospitals?

As a charity dedicated to enhancing the facilities, equipment and environment of the Eastbourne Hospital(s), we find ourselves in a very difficult position.

We expressed our objections to the plans to single-site Maternity when they were first raised several years ago, and the proposals under the Trust’s strategy in “Shaping Our Future”.

If, or when, the Trust decides to make the changes on Maternity and associated specialties permanent, we will consider the position and respond accordingly.

Despite this, our work must go on, and whatever the outcome, the charity will still have a very significant role in supporting the hospital, the patients treated there, its staff and visitors in anyway that it can.

There will always be a need for us and, despite the proposed changes, the need will be as great as ever.

In recent weeks many of our members and supporters have questioned their continuing support as “everything will simply go to the Conquest”.

May I reassure them that this is not true, and that it is the policy of the Friends to fund only developments and equipment that are intended for use at the DGH, or as an out-reach service from the DGH.

We are very conscious that our supporters wish to support their local hospital.

This the charity has done for 65 years (predating the NHS by a few months) and will continue to do long into the future, and well after the present Trust management, and indeed myself, have moved on to pastures new!

It is a privilege to see that reaction of the staff when we are able to assist a ward or department.

It gives them a much needed boost in morale which, in itself, makes it all worthwhile.

However, we can only do this with the continued support of the local population.

You have been very generous to us in the past and we will continue to need your support as we strive to make the hospital, whatever form it takes, one that we can all be proud of. Please do not desert us.

PETER NASH,

chairman of the Friends of the DGH.