DGH children’s ward changes ‘worrying’ – say anxious parents

19/3/13- Scott and Joey Haffenden from Eastbourne- opposing cuts to childrens services at the DGH
19/3/13- Scott and Joey Haffenden from Eastbourne- opposing cuts to childrens services at the DGH

A couple who had to take their sick toddler to the DGH have said plans to stop overnight admissions at the hospital’s children’s ward are ‘ridiculous’ and ‘worrying’.

Sarah and Scott Haffenden’s 15-month-old son Joey was suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting..

After failing to get a response from SEADOC the couple turned up at the hospital’s A&E department on the evening of March 9. The pair, who live in Eastbourne, were then referred to SEADOC within the hospital who phoned the paediatrician in the Friston Ward and was told that the couple should take Joey up to the children’s ward.

Mrs Haffenden, said, “They monitored him and they were worried about his chest and did an X-ray. They also gave him antibiotics. We were then given open-access, which means if we have more concerns we can go back to them without going to anyone else first.”

The family was at the hospital until the early hours of Sunday morning but changes coming into effect in a matter of weeks mean that children will no longer be able to stay overnight in the Friston Ward.

This follows the decision by NHS bosses to agree to a preferred option which is to maintain a consultant-led obstetric service, neo-natal service (including the Special Care Baby Unit), have in-patient paediatric service and emergency gynaecology service at the Conquest Hospital only and establish a stand alone midwifery-led maternity unit at the DGH.

Mrs Haffenden said, “The nurse said to me from April these services won’t be available, you will have to go to Hastings and if that’s full go to Brighton. If Brighton is busy then people will have to go to Kent. I think it’s ridiculous, can you imagine taking a poorly baby at midnight to Hastings?”

Mr Haffenden added, “It’s worrying, you would have to go to the SEADOC in Eastbourne to be referred to Hastings, it just doesn’t make any sense. If you didn’t drive then that’s going to be put pressure on the ambulance service who are going to have to transport people to Hastings.”

The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “The out of hours GP service (SEADOC) will be fully informed of the changes and will advise patients where they should go to get the care they need. We will be advising parents whose children regularly attend Friston ward of the impact that these changes will have on them.”