From: Peter Diplock
I write to highlight the dismissive tone with which Councillor Belsey referred to the nearly 1,700 respondents in the recently published survey into maternity services at the DGH.
The Herald reports that in discussion, Colin Belsey expressed his surprise at funding of the survey, saying “I’m amazed the council could find £20k to spend on a survey. I have spoken to the chief executive of ESHT about it. That’s probably five to six hip operations.”
It seems that Councillor Belsey is saying if you have used the maternity services at the DGH, you’re not worth listening to.
Where does one begin?
The insensitivity is overwhelming – if you, as one of those 1,700 respondents, were transferred in the back of a bumpy ambulance from the DGH to Hastings mid-labour, and took the opportunity to use the survey to convey your experience, you will not take kindly to Councillor Belsey calling it (and therefore your experience and opinion) a waste of money.
If you also represent a party (the Conservatives) that have repeatedly cut resources and funding to these essential services (nurses and midwives leaving in higher numbers than are joining the profession; SECAMB ambulance service recording their worst response times ever), you are in no position to dismiss the views of mothers that have used local maternity services.
Also, whilst the £20k survey cost might equate to “five to six hip operations,” I wonder how many of his constituents would take kindly to, midway through their hip operation, being thrown in the back of an ambulance for a 30-minute high-speed transfer to the Conquest, where a different team of medics continue the surgery.
He claims that the £20k spent by the Borough Council to listen to the stories of local mothers, allowing their voice to be heard relating to maternity services at the DGH, is a waste of money.
I would invite Councillor Belsey to consider that there are local, Eastbourne issues that demand a cross-party approach; issues that demand directly affected local people have their voices heard; and that perhaps he is out of touch with the kind of thing that truly matters to the people of our town.