Maternity debate taken to Parliment

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Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd discussed the controversial issue to downgrade maternity services at the DGH in Parliament last night.

As the Herald went to press Mr Lloyd was due to deliver his speech in which he says the people of Eastbourne are ‘being failed’. Mr Lloyd also spoke about previous plans to downgrade maternity services several years ago adding, “I am extremely angry that we have found ourselves back to where we were; back to my hospital losing its consultant-led maternity; back to where we fought and won all those years ago - only now it seems it was a Pyrrhic victory and that we in fact we have lost.”

The debate, called Obstetrics and Paediatric Services in East Sussex, follows the decision last month 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. 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.

Mr Lloyd said, “As local residents are well aware, I have a number of serious concerns about the trust’s decision to downgrade maternity and close in-patient paediatrics.

“This will have consequences for mothers, babies and children from Eastbourne and surrounding areas.

“I have not been reassured that consultant-led maternity will definitely be returning to the DGH.”

A government official from the Department of Health was set to respond to his speech which included key points he was hoping to be addressed which included a request for a meeting with the relevant senior departmental officials regarding the issue to ‘fix the problem before it is too late’.