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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Lloyd Protests about Maternity Changes at PMQs

May 17, 2013 11:30 AM

At Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions, Stephen Lloyd MP pressed Nick Clegg - standing in for David Cameron - about last week's changes to Eastbourne's maternity services.

In 2007/08 East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT) attempted to downgrade maternity services at the Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH), however those proposals were halted by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) in 2008. The IRP felt if Eastbourne's maternity service was reduced women's access to, and choice of, services would be 'seriously compromised' and the journey from Eastbourne to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, 'posed a risk of incidents, especially during unexpected transfers'.

The IRP set out a series of recommendations, that it felt would address the issues ESHT were having maintaining consultant-lead maternity service provision. However last week - just over 5 years since the IRP halted the plans - Eastbourne's consultant-lead maternity department was downgraded amid safety concerns.

Stephen Lloyd said: "It is my view - which is also shared by a number of eminent local clinicians - that ESHT never properly sought to implement the original IRP recommendations from 2008. I have taken particular issue with the lack of formal oversight locally or within the NHS generally, to ensure recommendations made by the IRP are ever actually properly implemented, so that NHS managers can be held to account."

He added: "I asked the Deputy Prime Minister to look to address this anomaly, and to ensure that NHS Hospital Trusts can be audited on the quality of their implementation of IRP recommendations, starting with our own hospital the Eastbourne DGH."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who also paid tribute to Lloyd's work on behalf of the local community said: "He makes an important point about the role of the independent reconfiguration panel and I will ask the Secretary of State for help to discuss this matter with him further."