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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Save the DGH Public Meeting at Eastbourne Town Hall on 23rd of November 2012 at 6pm.

November 20, 2012 10:29 AM

You will already be well aware of my fight to ensure no core services at the DGH are downgraded, and I want to update you with the latest developments.


On Friday I attended an extraordinary meeting of the board of East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT) in Bexhill. The Trust met to discuss their proposals to situate stroke services and emergency and high risk orthopaedics and general surgery at only one hospital in East Sussex. They confirmed their intention is to move general surgery and orthopaedics away from Eastbourne, while we are set to keep stroke care. You can watch the BBC news story relating to the meeting here and the ITV Meridian story here.

When the Trust tried to do a similar thing with maternity services 5 years ago, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) - the independent expert on NHS service change who advises the Secretary of State for Health on contested proposals for health service change in England - disputed the ESHT's claims that it would lead to a more sustainable service. The IRP ruled the proposal would actually reduce accessibility compared with the existing service provision, which led to these plans being shelved.

Added to this, when DGH consultants were surveyed recently on the current plans, over 99% of respondents disagreed with the entire proposals in their current form. I am currently in the process of surveying local GP opinion about the changes, and with almost a quarter of GPs having responded, there is already substantial opposition to the plans. There is also considerable public opposition, and, alongside the cross party 'Save the DGH' team I will continue to do all that we can to fight these proposals.

NHS Sussex, who is responsible for commissioning services across Sussex, will meet this coming Friday to discuss the proposals put forward by ESHT, and it is widely expected they will be agreed without opposition. After NHS Sussex has met I would like to invite you all to the public meeting, hosted by the 'Save the DGH' campaign.

The meeting will be taking place on Friday 23rd November, at Eastbourne Town Hall, from 6pm.

At the meeting we will be giving a full update on the proposals and what we are doing to contest the Trust's plans. I would urge you to come along and bring as many of your friends, relatives, neighbours and colleagues from the local area as possible.

This battle is crucial to the future of our town because I am very concerned about the impact and the knock-on effect of the loss of these two core services. Eastbourne is one of the fastest growing towns in the South East; demand for these services locally will be increasing over the coming years. Therefore it is vital we maintain a fully functioning District General Hospital to support the growing population. If these plans go ahead, I fear it is likely we will see a domino effect on other core services because of the inter dependency of a number of the hospital departments. This could lead to some of the other core services also moving away from the town.

The next few weeks are now crucial for the future of our local hospital. The government has stated that changes to health services must be led by local clinicians and local residents. I have a personal commitment from the Prime Minister here stating as much in answer to a question from me about the DGH. If we are able to mobilise the public to rise up against these changes, we may be able to save the DGH in its current form, but to do this I will need your help.

To find out just how you can help, please come to our public meeting this coming Friday at Eastbourne Town Hall, 6pm.

Many thanks


Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon

SavetheDGH website: http://www.savethedgh.org.uk/