Medic’s outrage over 999 hospital plan


A medic has said changes which mean Eastbourne residents with abdominal pains will be taken straight to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings rather than the DGH are ‘ridiculous’.

The NHS worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said staff were sent an email following the move of emergency and high risk surgery to the Hastings hospital in mid-December and told to take anyone calling 999 with abdominal pains straight to the Conquest.

But the member of staff said many people with such symptoms would not need surgery and therefore could be taken to the DGH, which for some callers would be much closer to home. He said the change coincides with emergency and high risk surgery now being based at Hastings and added, “People could have stomach bugs, kidney stones, urinary infections and it won’t require surgery and could be dealt with in Eastbourne by a doctor but they’re taken over to the Conquest.”

He said the decision was ‘simply crazy’ and added, “Imagine taking a 95-year-old to the Conquest with a stomach bug, how will they get back to Eastbourne at 4am?”

A spokesperson for South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECamb) said, “SECAmb has agreed a new clinical pathway for patients who present with abdominal pain, and other conditions which may require surgical intervention, as their primary symptom. This pathway has been introduced following a reconfiguration of emergency general surgical services at ESHT.”

Dr Andy Slater, medical director, added, “The clinical pathway is for the ambulance service to take those patients with a primary symptom of abdominal pain and other conditions which may require surgery directly to the surgical assessment unit at the Conquest Hospital.

“On arrival at the unit they will benefit from faster surgical assessment by senior medical staff and care in a dedicated unit leading to quicker treatment and speedier recovery.”