From: Liz Walke
Chair,Save the DGH Campaign
We saw the article stating that the local NHS reported only two stillbirths in Eastbourne 2017.
That is a massive improvement from 2016 when the ONS (Office for National Statistics) reported eight. However, we are aware that the ONS 2017 statistics are not yet available for some months and in 2016, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust maintained at the July 2017 Board meeting that they only had one recorded stillbirth.
Our campaign has never been about the number of stillbirths but that the journey for those living in the Eastbourne area is too much and it is this reason why we believe full maternity services should return to Eastbourne DGH. The Netherlands study, of over 700,000 births, the largest of its kind, said that travel over 20 minutes increased the risk of stillbirth and neonatal death significantly. We are also concerned that a recent paper from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists places our local NHS Trust, when comparing with other Trusts in the country, near the bottom. It is for these reasons we would like an independent review as the previous independent review concluded it was less safe to remove obstetric services from Eastbourne DGH mainly due to time and distance from next nearest maternity unit.
We are hopeful that the local NHS with their latest figures will also welcome an independent review to ensure the service they provide is the safest it can be.