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Press Release September 2016

A campaign group set up to fight the downgrading of core services at the Eastbourne District General Hospital and Conquest Hospital in Hastings has received a massive morale boost from Prime Minister Theresa May. Speaking in the Commons earlier this month, Mrs May said that NHS plans should be “locally driven” and reflect the needs of the local population. The words of comfort from the PM, who was born in Eastbourne, reflect everything the Save The DGH group has been fighting for since its inception in 2006. The campaign group has taken out adverts in the local press to spread the words of hope and remind the community that it continues to fight hard for the healthcare needs of the local population.

Group chair Liz Walke said she was delighted to hear the clear statement of intent from the Prime Minister. She said: “Not only did Theresa May sign our petition to bring back to Eastbourne consultant-led maternity, paediatrics and other core services, she has now stated clearly and unequivocally that NHS plans should be locally driven. “The campaign group was delighted to hear these words and will now be demanding to know what East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and other NHS organisations involved will be doing to make this happen,” Liz confirmed.

At Prime Minister’s Question Time on September 7, Mrs May said all Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), which are being carried out at the request of NHS England in all healthcare regions across England, must reflect the needs of the local population. "It is absolutely the point of these plans that they are locally driven,” the Prime Minister said. “They will be considered locally and should be taking into account the concerns and interests locally, not just those of clinical commissioning groups, but those of local authorities and of the public. These plans must be driven from the locality."

Liz Walke said that these words of comfort would please the 70,000 plus residents who signed petitions demanding that core hospital services be provided locally in Eastbourne. She said: “The sooner core services are returned to the DGH and the Conquest the better. The Conquest cannot cope with demand as demonstrated by Hastings cancer patients having to come to Eastbourne DGH in the last few days. “It is quite likely that the Conquest was full of people who have been forced to travel over from Eastbourne for their treatments! This situation must be addressed as soon as possible and should be done within the STPs. This is an ideal opportunity and must be grasped with both hands. It would be a travesty if it isn’t!”

Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell, a member of the Save The DGH campaign team, echoed calls for local services. She said: "The fast growing population of Eastbourne knows what it is to travel the long road to Hastings, and we have consistently campaigned for this very reason. The STPs offer up a new opportunity for us to make the case and secure the services people here want in their town."

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September 2016

Plans are being drawn up by NHS England for STP's (Sustainability & Transformation Plans) to be produced for every locality. The Prime Minister said recently that these plans MUST be LOCALLY DRIVEN.  It is essential that within these plans, consultant-led Maternity and Paediatrics and other core services which have been removed from Eastbourne DGH are returned and in view of this we will be writing to the local NHS and all decision-makers, publicising what we are doing.  Once again thank you for your support.

July 2016

Congratulations to Theresa May our new Prime Minister who was born in Eastbourne and has signed our petition. This will hopefully bode well as we fight to get back and keep all our core services at Eastbourne DGH.

13 May 2016

Some members of the Save the DGH Campaign group visited the Eastbourne Midwife-led Unit.  It was interesting to find out all the services which are available at Eastbourne DGH including holding consultant clinics and having beds for monitoring pregnant women.  We continue to support these services and emphasised this on our visit but included highlighting the need for consultant availability during labour should an unexpected emergency arise. We would like to explore what exactly is needed for an obstetric facility to return which would mean all local women would be able to give birth locally.

April 2016

The Campaign group had a good meeting with Dr Adrian Bull, the new Chief Executive of East Sussex Healthcare Trust and some of the senior Maternity Services management team.  The Campaign are keen for the new Chief Executive and Chairman, David Clayton-Smith, to look at innovative ways of providing core services at Eastbourne DGH. David Clayton-Smith joined our monthly campaign meeting which discussed all our concerns in particular travelling to the Conquest from Eastbourne in an emergency and why we need core services at Eastbourne DGH.

14th April 2016 - Meetings with the new Chief Executive and Chair of ESHT

The Save the DGH Campaign are meeting the new Chief Executive of ESHT tomorrow (Friday 15th April 2016) to discuss the return of core services to Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest.

Attending from the Campaign committee will be John Clarke (retired GP), Robert Smart (ex ESHT Non-executive Director), Andrew Durling (Green Party rep), Brian Valentine (retired ESHT Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist), Ian Lucas (for Caroline Ansell MP), Richard Goude (Labour party rep), Keith Ridley (Business rep), Margaret Williams (Chair, Hands Off the Conquest), David Tutt (Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council), Selene Edwards if she can make it (Social media rep and young mum), Sandy Medway (ex Eastbourne Hospital Trust Non-executive Director and Eastbourne Churches Together rep), Cllr Kathy Smethers (Conservative rep) and Liz Walke (Chair).

It has been confirmed that the following from ESHT will be at tomorrow’s meeting:-

Dr Adrian Bull – Chief Executive, Alice Webster – Director of Nursing, Dexter Pascall – Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Jenny Crowe – Head of Midwifery, Women and Children, and Ashley Parrott – Associate Director of Governance.

We are hoping to cover the following points:-

  • Return of core services covering the impact of core services being removed eg. increase use of Ambulances, isolation, increased stress, increased risk to mother and baby outside of hospital, hospital transfers for children not well enough to go home, pressures when child hospitalised away from local hospital etc.

  • ESHT Maternity disasters, Deliveries & BBA’s, near misses and recording of information

  • ‘30 minute’ rule for Maternity emergencies ignored/ misrepresented at HOSC?

  • Serious Incidents, Never events (3 in Nov15 and 1 in Dec15) and near misses and how these are recorded.

Then on the Saturday (16th April 2016) at our monthly Campaign committee meeting, the new ESHT Chairman, David Clayton-Smith, will be joining us.

Interesting times......we will keep you informed.  And as ever, please let us know your experiences of using Eastbourne DGH, The Conquest and other NHS hospital services.

21st March 2016. source: NHS England

New action to cut stillbirths. NHS England publishes new guidance that aims to reduce stillbirths in England. There are currently around 665,000 babies born in England each year, but there are over 3,000 stillbirths. Despite falling to its lowest rate in 20 years, one in every 200 babies is stillborn in the UK, more than double the rate of nations with the lowest rates. The new guidance – called Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle – is part of a drive to halve the rate of stillbirths from 4.7 per thousand to 2.3 per thousand by 2030, potentially avoiding the tragedy of stillbirth for more than 1500 families every year.

14th March 2016

Adrian Bull has been appointed to be the new Chief Executive of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.  He is due to start in April 2016 and we are hopeful that the decisions made which removed essential services from Eastbourne DGH will be reconsidered with these core services returned as soon as possible.


6th March 2016: 10 years!

Since 6th March 2006 we have been fighting for our core services to be provided and remain at Eastbourne DGH.  We continue to fight and thank you, the public, for your continued support.

18th February 2016

David Clayton-Smith has been appointed Chairman of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.  We are still waiting for the announcement as to who is going to be the new Chief Executive.  We hope to work with these two leaders to ensure that they look at the previous Chief Executive's flawed clinical strategy which removed core services from both Eastbourne DGH (District General Hospital) and the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.  We believe the core services should be provided at both DGH's which should serve the majority of the population of East Sussex and we continue to fight for their return.

For older news reports please see our campaign timeline!