Maternity and paediatric services in East Sussex will be permanently provided on one site rather than two under proposals put forward by clinical commissioning groups in the area.
These services have been temporarily concentrated on one site since May, in response to a report by the National Care Advisory Team which concluded that “the potential for calamity in East Sussex is such that decisions should not await the outcome of [a reconfiguration decision] process”.
CCGs have put forward six proposals for change in public engagement meetings. However, none include obstetrics or in-patient paediatrics remaining at both the two sites they used to occupy. Instead, the services will be centralised at either Eastbourne District General Hospital or Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
All options include, across the area, the provision of obstetric-led maternity services, two birthing units and an overnight in-patient paediatric ward. They would see a short-stay paediatric assessment unit continue to be provided at both sites.
The East Sussex health overview and scrutiny committee will now consider the options.
Dismay has been expressed that there is no option for full services across both sites.
However, Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG chair Martin Writer said: “The Better Beginnings [reconfiguration] review has concluded that it is not possible to maintain safe services with the previous two-site model for obstetrics. We cannot move forward with options that we do not believe are safe.”
Joint East Sussex CCG press release
11 December 2013