A call to the government for a rethink its current approach to shuffling local health services was made in the House of Commons by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd yesterday (Thursday).
The MP sponsored the debate which they said was needed because of the increasing number of closures and downgrades to hospital emergency departments, with at least 15 NHS bodies in England currently pursuing major reconfiguration plans.
In Eastbourne, the DGH is in the process of having its orthopaedic general surgery departments downgraded despite opposition from 36,766 local people signing a petition against the plans, 98 DGH consultants and 42 Eastbourne GPs opposing the plans and Eastbourne Consultants Advisory Committee expressing ‘grave concerns’ about the proposals.
Before the debate in Parliament began Mr Lloyd said, “There is increasing concern in medical fields that NHS care for emergency patients is failing in too many instances; rare, complex surgeries, such as for brain tumours are obviously best done in specialist centres. However common types of emergency surgery, such as hip fractures, are best done as soon as possible, at local hospitals. With hospitals around the country being reconfigured to provide ‘specialist care in a major centre’ thousands of patients around the country who require emergency, but not specialist care, are losing out.
“I will also be outlining the case of my own trust which has been able to press ahead with plans to downgrade departments despite not meeting three of the government’s four reconfiguration tests.”
The East Sussex trust says it is making the changes to improve services across the county after a scrutiny committee agreed it was in the best interest of patients.