DGH bosses defend service switch plans

The NHS management behind controversial plans to move two vital services to Hastings say the shift will affect less than one per cent of people who use the two main hospitals in East Sussex.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust confirmed last week that it would push ahead with proposals to centralise emergency orthopaedic and general surgery at the Conquest in Hastings while concentrating a specialist 24 hour stroke care department at the DGH.

Its finalised plan will go before NHS Sussex this week (Thursday) and if they are given the green light the trust will only have to convince members of the local health overview and scrutiny committee of the scheme’s merits when they meet in December.

Campaigners opposed to the plans still believe they can stop the plans with a widespread public show of disapproval but Darren Grayson, the Trust’s chief executive, is adamant the opposition is misguided.

He said it was important people realised only a small number of emergency and higher risk planned general surgery and emergency and orthopaedics would be sent to The Conquest and that the majority of people would be unaffected – with fewer than 15 people a day needing to travel further for treatment than they do now out of a population of more than 500,000.

Mr Grayson said, “We firmly believe we have made the right recommendations for the future of healthcare in East Sussex. If implemented they will significantly improve the quality of the care patients receive in stroke care, emergency and higher risk planned general surgery and emergency and higher risk planned orthopaedic services.

“We also believe that our recommendations will provide a better quality of care for all local people across East Sussex, regardless of where they live, and ensure that we continue to have two thriving and vibrant hospitals.”