After a long leadership hiatus with the NHS trust (ESHT), which runs our district general hospital, we finally have in place a new Chairman, David Clayton-Smith and Chief Executive, Dr Adrian Bull. Both men have impressive CV’s.

Dr Bull lives locally and was in the past Medical Director for Eastbourne and County NHS Trust, which subsequently became ESHT, so he should be aware of the particular challenges our hospital faces, including the dreadful transport links with Hastings.

I’m one of nature’s natural optimists, so am hoping the new top team will make a genuinely positive difference to all of us, as prospective patients of the DGH (and of the community health services), as well as the long-suffering staff who went through the mill under the leadership of Darren Grayson and Stuart Welling. I still remember the regular letters from Welling accusing me of scare-mongering when, as the MP, I would go public with stories of shocking staff bullying, all of which the CQC Report subsequently found to be true.

So where are we at? I am convinced the various strategic bodies who oversee Hospital Trusts such as the TDA (Trust Development Authority) and particularly the Department of Health simply do not understand the unique difficulties presented to residents because of our shocking local road network, and the even worse public transport links, between Eastbourne and the Conquest Hospital in Hastings. If they did, they might not have disregarded the problems we've been flagging for the last ten years.

The SavetheDGH campaign team continue to meet regularly under the tremendous leadership of Liz Walke and I’ve remained an active member of the team. Having been involved for almost a decade, it made sense to stay involved, not least as living in Eastbourne I’ve a vested interest in trying to make our hospital work.

We had a productive meeting with the new Improvement Director a couple of weeks ago, which bodes well for the future, and we’ll be meeting the new CEO and Chairman soon.

If I could offer just three bits of advice to the new senior hospital managers they would be: First - listen to local people and your staff. We really do know what works in Eastbourne and what doesn’t.

Secondly - work ‘with’ the SavetheDGH team and not against.

We are a cross party group with support from across the whole town. We also have experienced medical advisers on our committee so we only ask for what we believe are the right things clinically.

And finally - bring back core services to the DGH or find ways to enhance services locally. The shocking road between the two hospitals along with the lamentable public transport cannot be magically fixed, so allowing frightening trips for over a thousand expectant Eastbourne mums (and their families) every year to the Conquest simply cannot be allowed to continue.

Adrian & David, I wish you all the best in your new posts, and I look forward to helping you give Eastbourne and the surrounding area the hospital it deserves.