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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Motion to refer on DGH maternity decision loses by one vote

July 28, 2014 11:44 AM

This afternoon the East Sussex County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) rejected a move by Liberal Democrat Councillors Alan Shuttleworth and John Ungar to have the issue of the future of the maternity and paediatric services at Eastbourne District General Hospital referred to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. The meeting, which took place at Lewes County Hall, was also attended by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and other members of the Save the DGH team.

The committee turned down Cllr Shuttleworth's motion by 8 votes to 4. A motion made by Independent Cllr Ruth O'Keeffe proposing that more information be considered at the next HOSC meeting before a decision was made was lost by just one vote, with the Conservative Cllrs opposing the motion and the Conservative Chair of the Committee, Cllr Michael Ensor, cased the deciding vote 7-5.

Cllr Alan Shuttleworth said: "I believe that there are serious safety concerns in the option to remove consultant-led maternity and inpatient paediatrics services from Eastbourne DGH on a permanent basis. This will have a highly significant impact on the health service for thousands of residents of East Sussex, present and future.

The consultation process was flawed by the omission of a 7th option to retain consultant-led maternity at both the DGH and at the Conquest hospital in Hastings, and also at the omission of an inpatient paediatric unit at both hospitals. "

Cllr John Ungar commented: "It was disappointing that the Conservative Councillors failed to back the campaign to return consultant-led maternity to our Eastbourne DGH. This matter should have been referred to the Secretary of State for Health to be scrutinised by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel"