‘Proposals are aimed at improving quality of care’

THE consultation into planned changes to the way key services are provided in East Sussex has one week left to run.

A 14-week long public opinion gathering exercise ends on September 28 and management at the Trust want as many people as possible to have their say before that deadline.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has suggested centralising a trio of services at either the DGH or the Conquest in St Leonards, with general surgery, orthopaedics and stroke care those earmarked for change.

Management say it will significantly improve the quality of the care patients across the county receive in all three areas,.

But this is disputed by campaign group Save the DGH and the hospital’s Friends organisation – both of which have spoken out against the move.

A host of consultation events have already taken place but the Trust remains anxious that everyone who wants to have their say does.

Dr Andy Slater, medical director for the Trust, said, “We want every operation to go ahead on time as planned. We want every patient needing unplanned diagnosis and treatment to be seen and treated swiftly by skilled and expert doctors. We want everybody who has had treatment to get the right support afterwards to enable a strong recovery in good time.

“These goals are not currently achievable and we want to change that.

“ Staff at both the DGH and Conquest work incredibly hard to provide excellent care. This is about improving our services so we can do even better.”

Anyone who wants a copy of the consultation document, called Shaping our Future, can either download it from www.esht.nhs.uk/shapingourfuture or call 01273 485300.

Dr Martin Writer, an Eastbourne GP and chairman of the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group, is another in favour of the changes.

He said, “As doctors working in East Sussex we are committed to improving the healthcare available for our communities. Like everyone in East Sussex, we want the DGH and Conquest to remain thriving major sites.

“These proposals are not a threat to that ambition, they are a means of achieving it. They are about raising the standard of care in three specialist areas.

“On occasions some patients will need to travel further for some specialist services but these changes will guarantee the right specialist teams are in place, at the right time, with dedicated facilities for recovery before going home.”