Thousands call for reinstatement of consultant-led maternity services at Eastbourne Hospital (From The Argus)
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Thousands call for reinstatement of consultant-led maternity services at Eastbourne Hospital
12:28pm Monday 24th March 2014 in News
Thousands of people are being urged to back a campaign aimed at reinstating a hospital’s maternity services.
A public consultation looking at the future of maternity care in East Sussex is running until April 8.
Health bosses are considering six options aimed at maintaining safe services across the county, including at Eastbourne District General Hospital and Conquest Hospital in St Leonards.
However none of the options includes having consultant-led midwife units at both Eastbourne and St Leonards.
Maternity services at Eastbourne were temporarily downgraded to midwife-led in May last year because of safety fears caused by problems in recruiting enough staff to cover both departments.
Consultant services, plus children’s inpatient services, are now currently based at the Conquest.
Now protesters who successfully fought to save maternity services in Eastbourne six years ago have come up with another option and launched a campaign urging people to support it.
Their option includes having full consultant led services at both hospitals, which they believe is the best option for people in the county.
They warn lives will be put at risk if women who suffer complications during labour or who have an at-risk pregnancy are forced to travel further for treatment.
The six options now drawn up include basing consultant, emergency gynaecology and children’s inpatient services at either Eastbourne or St Leonards, but not at both.
Two options include no longer providing services at Crowborough and sending patients to midwife-run units at Eastbourne or St Leonards instead.
A spokeswoman for the Save the DGH group said: “If you want to have a say on the future of maternity and paediatric services, please respond to the consultation before April 8.
“What is important to you? Is there anything else you think they should have considered? Have you got any experiences they should know about?
“You can also go straight to www.betterbeginnings-nhs.net and complete their online questionnaire.
“Please remember not to tick any box for option one to six but enter option seven in the other information/comments box.”
The three clinical commissioning groups which cover East Sussex are expecting to make a final decision this summer.
They say reshaping local NHS maternity and paediatric services will help ensure “safe and high quality care for the future wellbeing of mothers, babies and children.”
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