STRUCTURE: Plans to reconfigure emergency services in East Sussex are expected to go ahead after the threat of a judicial review was lifted.
The Save the DGH group in Eastbourne had been considering a judicial review of proposals to concentrate emergency orthopaedic and general surgery at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
The group – which has support from some retired doctors, councillors and MPs – has opposed plans to change services at Eastbourne DGH for many years.
But on Friday the group said it would not press forward with legal action, because it did not believe even a successful challenge would change the approach adopted by local health bodies. However, it said it will continue to take action based on concerns raised by NHS staff and patients.
The reconfiguration – which also involves some stroke services being based at Eastbourne – has been supported by East Sussex Hospitals Trust, local primary care trusts and clinical commissioning groups.
It has also been examined by the county’s overview and scrutiny committee, which has decided not to refer it to the health secretary.
In a statement the trust said it had not yet had confirmation that the review would not go ahead.
“We are continuing to focus on the implementation of our proposals to improve the quality of stroke care, emergency orthopaedic and emergency general surgery by centralising these services,” it said.
“Our guiding principle has always been, and remains, the safety and future clinical sustainability of our services. The campaigners argued for no change but the evidence is that this would have led to poorer outcomes for patients.
“We believe our proposals will deliver better results for patients, better access to expert clinicians and better recovery rates,” it added.
A trust spokesman said it hoped to have some of the service changes in place by the end of the year.
Information supplied to HSJ
25 February 2013