LAST Saturday more than 2,000 people marched along Eastbourne seafront in protest against East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust’s controversial plans to centralise three key services either in the DGH or along the coast in Hastings.
The Herald urged as many of ours readers as possible to make the effort to join the demonstration – as did the town’s MP and the Save the DGH campaign group.
Today, on behalf of everyone who has backed the calls for stroke care, orthopaedics and general surgery to remain on both sites, we thank all those who joined the march.
The message being shouted from the seafront was clear: these plans are unwelcome and unwanted. It was a powerful demonstration.
Enough people turned up to show the NHS management that Eastbourne expects the very best in care and treatment right here – not a car, train or bus journey away.
However,there must have been slight disappointment deep down. Here was a chance to put a marker in the sand; a chance to mobilise the town and show health chiefs that they face the mother of all battles if they continue on their course.
Perhaps it was slightly fanciful to expect 5,000 marchers. Maybe a Saturday morning -– given many people’s busy family schedules – was not ideal. Maybe there is a small element of protest fatigue by some of those who took to the streets in 2006.
Whatever, we give this stark warning to the trust. Don’t take any comfort from the reduced number of marchers. Don’t think for one moment that many thousands more don’t stand shoulder to shoulder with those who marched. And don’t think this town too weary for the fight ahead.
There may be disbelief that Eastbourne is back in this position. Yet there is greater belief than ever that the battle will be won.