MP welcomes health group’s opposition to centralisation plans

A POLITICIAN who is fighting against controversial plans to centralise key services at either the DGH or the Conquest in Hastings has welcomed the decision of a health fundraising group to speak out against the proposals.

In Friday’s edition of The Gazette’s sister paper, The Herald, The Friends of Eastbourne Hospitals slammed plans for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to concentrate stroke care, orthopaedics and general surgery on just one site.

And Stephen Lloyd, the MP for Eastbourne, believes people should listen to the group, which has more than 3,000 members and has raised millions of pounds for the DGH over the years.

Speaking to The Gazette, the Lib Dem said, “For such a highly reputable organisation as the Friends to have come out with such a damning indictment of the future clinical strategy as proposed by the Trust managers is a powerful shot in the arm for the Save the DGH campaign team.

“They are key stakeholders in the DGH and have been among its most active supporters for decades, and it is crystal clear that the Trust board has to listen to what the Friends of the DGH and the Save the DGH campaign team are saying.”

For its part, the Trust has long argued the need to centralise certain services in order to attract top consultants to the area who would otherwise not have the volume of patients coming through the doors to sustain their skill level.

Management at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust say the mooted changes have nothing to do with cost-cutting and are purely based on the advice of expert clinicians who believe the move would drive up patient care.