Changes to be made at DGH in days

Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) March 11th 2013 E11036P
Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) March 11th 2013 E11036P

Next Tuesday (May 7) will see the controversial changes to maternity services at the DGH come into place.

Despite protests from the Save the DGH group, Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and concerned parents and residents the decision was made by NHS bosses back in March to see the Eastbourne hospital 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 will no longer be able to stay overnight in the Friston Ward.

This means that pregnant women going in to labour at the DGH who then need an emergency caesarean would have to be transferred to Hastings and that those who are already deemed high risk will not be able to give birth at the Eastbourne hospital.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said it is a temporary measure, expected to last around 18 months, adding it had been advised by doctors, midwives and nurses, together with the National Clinical Advisory Team that maternity and paediatric services at both hospitals could not continue in their present format, due to safety reasons.

The controversial decision has seen the Mr Lloyd raise the issue in Parliament and the Save the DGH group look into a judicial review to challenge it.

A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “Much work has been undertaken to prepare for the temporary changes to maternity and paediatric services and everything is in place for these changes to be implemented next Tuesday (7th May).

“Whilst the changes will be implemented that morning, we will be reviewing every woman who goes into labour or any child who needs to stay in hospital overnight in the days immediately before this on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that they are cared for at the most appropriate site.

“The decision to change services was made purely on the grounds of safety and is a temporary measure.

“The changes are supported by the Consultant Obstetricians & Gynaecologists who work at the Trust, who believe, based on the evidence, that these changes will deliver a safer service for local women and babies.”

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