Elderly people who have fallen over facing longer trips to hospital, emergency surgery delayed, stroke victims facing longer journeys to get treated and pregnant women giving birth in ambulances - these are the potential consequences for residents of Seaford and Polegate if the planned changes to local health care proposed by East Sussex Healthcare Trust go ahead, according to the local MP Norman Baker, who has backed the Save the DGH campaign in his submission to the "Shaping our Future" consultation.
East Sussex Healthcare has released its consultation document "Shaping our Future" which outlines a number of options for changing local healthcare provisions. The document focuses heavily on placing a number of important services at one site with a genuine possibility of the site being the Conquest in Hastings. The consequence of such a change will mean that the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton will now become the closest hospital for residents of Seaford. Residents of Polegate will, on the other hand, be forced to go to the Conquest, nearly ten miles further than Eastbourne, along the slow A259.
The consultation proposes to, amongst other things:
Contributing to the consultation, Norman has made it clear that he believes reducing services at EDGH will have a negative effect on healthcare provisions for his constituents, particularly those who suffer a stroke or are in need of emergency surgery. He has also raised concerns about the potential domino effect that a reduction of services could have and could set a nasty precedent that could result in maternity services being downgraded.
Norman says: "While I understand that no decision has been made publicly yet on where the changes will be made, with Brighton a fixed point of delivery and Eastbourne's relative proximity to Brighton, when compared to that of Hastings, it does not bode well for retaining these important services at the EDGH.
"I appreciate that the Trust is under some financial and clinical pressures, but we simply cannot have a two tier health system where those who live in Hastings and Brighton get a good service and those who rely on Eastbourne getting the short end of the stick. I have made my feelings very clear in my letter to the Chief Executive of the Trust, Darren Grayson, that key services at the DGH must be retained and I would encourage constituents, particularly, in Seaford and Polegate to do the same."
Contact Norman at:
23 East Street,
Tel: (01273) 480281.
Fax: (01273) 480287.