STRUCTURE: A south east trust has hit back at its Liberal Democrat MP for refusing to discuss his “insulting and inappropriate” criticisms of its restructuring programme.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust has repeated its offer to meet Stephen Lloyd, the MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, so he can discuss his concerns in a face to face meeting.

The letter by trust chair Stuart Welling described Mr Lloyd’s public pronouncement about East Sussex as insulting, and urged him to take up a further offer to discuss his concerns “in the same way as other local MPs do”.

His criticisms were “demoralising for our hard working staff”, it stated.

Darren Grayson, chief executive of East Sussex, said it believed that contact with all its MPs was “extremely beneficial”.

“Regretfully despite repeated invitations, Mr Lloyd has refused all our invitations to meet with the chairman and myself, including offers for him to meet with clinicians without senior management presence,” Mr Grayson said. 

Mr Lloyd told HSJ in a statement that the trust had “repeatedly tried to strip our hospital of its core services”.

“Two years ago they removed emergency orthopaedics, out of hour emergency surgery, followed by the ‘temporary’ removal of consultant led maternity and paediatrics last year,” he said.

“Perhaps my biggest grievance, though, is with the manner of the trust’s actions… I have urged the chief executive, chair and board to resign en-masse.

“The staff morale is - if my postbag is any indication - in a desperate state and action must be taken urgently if we are to secure the long term future for a fully functioning district general hospital in Eastbourne.”