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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Lloyd meets with Secretary of State over IRP concerns

January 17, 2014 5:34 PM

This week Stephen Lloyd MP met with the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, to raise concerns about the changes to Maternity and Paediatrics at the DGH, and highlight the Trust's lack of an independent audit over their implementation of the original Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) recommendations from 2008.

This meeting, initially arranged following a question Stephen raised at Prime Minister's Questions, was designed to highlight the lack of ongoing independent oversight of findings made by the IRP. In 2008 the IRP blocked proposals for a single site Consultant-led maternity provision in East Sussex, on the grounds that the road between Hastings and Eastbourne was unsuitable for urgent medical transfers. Just 6 years later, the local Hospital Trust has again tried to remove Consultant-led maternity provision from Eastbourne in favour of keeping it at Hastings, despite no improvements to the road and an increase in demand at both sites. Stephen highlighted the safety concerns with the Secretary of State, and suggested that mechanisms should be in place to ensure that the rulings of the IRP are properly audited to ensure robust implementation.

Following the meeting, Stephen Lloyd said: "It was a positive meeting. I raised the concern that no independent body audits the IRP's recommendations, and the Secretary of State was very receptive to the problems this may cause, as well as the need to fix this. He went as far to say that the whole system could be undermined if the recommendations of an independent panel are not heeded. We discussed what could be put in place to audit the implementation of IRP recommendations."

He added "My concern remains that the list of long term proposals for maternity provision, put forward by the Clinical Commissioning Groups, does not include an option for both the DGH and Conquest to run Consultant-led maternity services. This is despite the IRP memorably overturning these changes last time they were proposed in 2008."