GPs say change the only option

DGH sign
DGH sign

A BAND of doctors have come together to voice their support for the controversial changes planned at the DGH.

Locals are currently being consulted over East Sussex Healthcare Trust’s plans to centralise key services either in Eastbourne or nearby Hastings.

And, as we revealed in last week’s Herald, early indications suggest that, if green ticked, the changes would see as many as 5,700 patients would have to travel the 20 plus miles between towns for treatment.

Campaign group Save the DGH has promised to fight the proposals, which it says will trigger a domino effect that could see other key departments downgraded.

At the moment only stroke, general surgery and orthopaedic are at risk but the future of maternity services is also be looked at, with genuine fears among locals that the trust will opt for a single consultant led site at the Conquest in Hastings.

Medical director Andrew Slater said any changes would come about in an effort to improve standards rather than save money and this week his stance was backed up by a group of local GPs.

In a joint statement issued to the Herald this week Dr Martin Writer, Dr Mark Barnes, Dr Jorg Bruuns, Dr Matt Jackson and Dr Michael Vonfraunhofer said that change was the only option.

They said, “We want the DGH and Conquest to remain thriving major sites.

“These proposals are not a threat to that ambition they are a means of achieving it.

“They are about raising the standard of care in three specialist areas.

“Staff at both hospitals work incredibly hard to provide high quality services to patients - and by making changes to where some of those services are provided we know the standard of care can be made even better.

“Arriving at hospital to find your operation has been cancelled because there are no beds available can be very distressing and hugely inconvenient for patients and their families.

“The changes being discussed are aimed at delivering a more reliable service.

“We want every operation to go ahead on time as planned.

“We want every patient needing emergency diagnosis and treatment to be seen and treated swiftly by skilled and expert doctors.

“We want everybody who has had treatment to get the right support afterwards to enable a strong recovery in good time.

“These goals are not currently achievable and we want to change that.

“Yes patients might on occasions need to travel further for some specialist services but these changes will guarantee the right specialist teams are in place, at the right time, with dedicated facilities for recovery before going home.

“We are supporting these proposals because we want people in East Sussex to have excellent, safe and sustainable services for years to come.

“These plans, we believe, will deliver better results for patients, better access to expert clinicians and better recovery rates.

“Making changes is too easily portrayed as cuts. That is not what this is about. This is about improving services.”

r What do you think of the plans? Email your thoughts to eastbourne.herald@trbeckett.co.uk and we will print the best.