DGH meeting was a sham

I was appalled at the decision made by the East Sussex Healthcare Trust to removeconsultant-led maternity from Eastbourne DGH, in total disregard of the wishes of the public of Eastbourne, the Save the DGH Campaign, and the advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that this approach would seriously compromise the position of women and their babies.

I believe that the extraordinary meeting was a complete sham. The decision had already been made and the views of those of us who attended were not considered seriously.

Further, I believe it was totally undemocratic to prevent a number of us from addressing the Board during the section of the meeting reserved for the public to ask questions and raise their concerns. The chairman curtailed questions after a few minutes of questioning of the Board.

Eastbourne people who had listened patiently for two hours to discussion about the staffing issues which have led to this decision were denied the opportunity to press the Board over their total lack of forward planning and mismanagement of maternity and neonatal services.

These panic measures are an attempt to remove the consultant-led maternity from Eastbourne DGH via the back door. It is a slippery slope which follows in the wake of the removal of emergency orthopaedics and emergency general surgery from our DGH and represents a further downgrading of our hospital.

We are disturbed that threats about the care and safety of maternity patients are being used to justify a further shift of core services from Eastbourne DGH to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

ALAN SHUTTLEWORTH, Langney Councillor.