Controversial plans to centralise key hospital services in East Sussex have passed their final hurdle.

Members of the East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny today agreed to support changes proposed by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The plans will mean emergency general and orthopaedic surgery will no longer be carried out at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

Patients will have to travel to Conquest Hospital in St Leonards instead.

The changes will also lead to stroke services being based at Eastbourne.

Both hospitals currently provide all three services but trust bosses say they must be based on one site to keep treatment sustainable and safe.

Campaigners from the Save the DGH handed in a petition to today's (December 13) meeting which had more than 37,000 signatures that had been collected in the last three weeks.

They had been calling on the committee to refer the decision to the Health Secretary for an independent review.

Campaigners say the changes will put lives at risk with people needing urgent treatment having to face longer journeys.

They believe it will also have a knock-on effect on other vital hospital services such as maternity.

The committee's decision means the hospital trust can now continue to press ahead with its plans and develop a full business case.<

Members of the scrutiny committee agreed they would still continue to monitor the progress of the plans.

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