Local MPs slam hospital option choice

Stephen Lloyd and Norman Baker at a Save the DGH rally
Stephen Lloyd and Norman Baker at a Save the DGH rally

Local MPs Stephen Lloyd and Norman Baker have both expressed strong concerns regarding the consultation into maternity and paediatrics provision in East Sussex, which was launched by the local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) this week.

Six options are currently on the table, but none of these provide for full consultant-led provision at both Eastbourne and Hastings sites.

In 2008 ESHT previously tried to downgrade maternity services at Eastbourne DGH in favour of single-siting them at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings but this was overturned by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), who found that, amongst other recommendations, ‘there is an unquantifiable risk of incidents during transfer or transport of women during labour’.

Mr Lloyd said, “I am extremely disappointed that the CCGs are not offering consultant-led maternity provisions at both sites. When the Hospitals Trust announced the changes to maternity and paediatric provisions were only temporary, I and many other Eastbourne residents rightly expected that this would mean the option for both sites to host consultant-led maternity was alive and well.

Instead the CCGs have ruled out this possibility, which is incredibly disappointing to me and, I am sure, the vast majority of local residents. Just six years ago, the IRP were adamant both sites must have consultant-led maternity provision for the safety of mothers and their babies. Since then, the road has not been improved and Eastbourne remains the fastest growing town in East Sussex. It just doesn’t add up.”

Mr Baker added, “I am becoming increasingly concerned about the direction of travel at the DGH – which is away from our area and towards Hastings. A two-tier health service is being created in East Sussex with the DGH in Tier 2.

“For six options to be offered, none of which provides for the delivery of key services on the two sites, is a consultation with a huge hole in the middle.”