It’s summer! The Carnival and Eastbourne Tennis Open have been great successes again this year, and our lovely town is glistening in the sun.
Sadly though, the fight to keep consultant-led maternity and paediatric provision at the DGH casts a gloomy note over our town’s tremendous success with getting through the recession and positive unemployment figures.
Many of you will be aware from the Herald coverage that our CCG (Clinical Commissioning Groups) voted for option 6. This, sadly, means that consultant-led maternity will not be returned to DGH and remains only at the Conquest. It is no disrespect at all towards our fine midwife-led service at the DGH for me to say how incredibly disappointed I was. Our shocking transport links to the Conquest just seem to have been ignored!
Additionally, a couple of weeks ago, the Health Scrutiny and Overview Committee (HOSC) met to discuss the consultation process and findings of the CCG.
The first motion for them to vote on was crucial and was put forward by Cllr Alan Shuttleworth, proposing the CCG’s consultation process was flawed as it did not include the SavetheDGH’s seventh option, which called for consultant-led maternity at both sites. I am sad to have to report that Alan’s motion lost by just one vote; 5 to 6.
The final decision that could permanently rob us of our vital consultant-led maternity unit and inpatient paediatric service will be coming at the next HOSC committee. This gives us more time to lobby the members and it is absolutely imperative everybody writes to the councillors on HOSC. See www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/about/committees/meetings/scrhealth.
You have probably seen the good news; unemployment has fallen again in Eastbourne and Willingdon with claimant levels down to 3.5 per cent. Figures haven’t been this low since before the General Election! Having already achieved great things with our ‘100 in 100 Apprenticeship Campaign,’ my ‘100 x 3 Work Experience Initiative’ is also going from strength to strength.
The news that the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team is fighting off the threat of closure has also hit the headlines. Along with the Samaritans, the Chaplaincy Team literally saves lives. Their websites are: www.bhct.org.uk and www.eastbournesamaritans.org/
Sainsbury’s and Albert Parade is still bubbling away. I had hoped that we’d stopped them but it seems they’re still determined to build a supermarket on the site of the Drive Pub. Like most people in Old Town, I believe it would be much better if we had our Green Street Surgery there, so I am very determined to keep pushing.
I was also invited to take part in the A27 reference group, which convenes to oversee the Department for Transport’s A27 investigation. This meeting was called to scrutinise the evidence gathered to support the improvement of the road, and I made sure the Department were aware how underrepresented Eastbourne was in their first draft. This has now been put right.