JUST over two years ago the Secretary of State recognised the powerful arguments brought by the Save the DGH campaign to maintain two maternity sites in both Eastbourne and Hastings’s hospitals.
Since then a new government has pledged no cuts in the NHS.
Now stories are emerging that local East Sussex Hospitals Trust is revisiting the ‘single site’ option. The people of Eastbourne will want to know the answers to the following questions.
Are the single site stories true, even based on a temporary closure of one site? They will not want to hear the answer, “No decision has been made”.
They need to know if such a decision is being considered, because in their eyes the case has been settled and should not even be back on the table.
The safety issues around a single site remain exactly the same for mothers as three years ago.
Why are serious questions being addressed to the relevant bodies not receiving clear answers?
A recent Care Quality Commission inspection report raised safety concerns around current maternity services. Is this report being used as a lever to reopen the single site debate?
The Save the DGH campaign group, led by the redoubtable watchdog, Liz Walke, is not a fringe pressure group.
It represents a broad spread of people across the political spectrum, from high level backgrounds in medical practice, to respected business people and people of faith.
The group’s hard work has won the respect of the people of Eastbourne. Their concerns should now also be treated with respect.
Clearly there is pressure to save money in the NHS. No doubt savings can and will be made. However, the people of Eastbourne will want to say loud and clear: no cuts to core services and no cuts that cost lives,
The Rt Rev Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes,
Martyn Relf, chair of Churches Together for Eastbourne