STRUCTURE: East Sussex Healthcare Trust has confirmed that temporary changes to maintain the safety of its maternity and paediatric services were implemented on 7 May.

The board agreed to the changes in March to ensure the “safety of obstetric and neonatal services locally”, the trust said.

As a result, a midwifery-led maternity unit is operating at Eastbourne DGH where women assessed as low risk can give birth, while services for women assessed as high risk have been centralised at Conquest Hospital, Hastings.

The Friston Children’s Unit at Eastbourne DGH has become a Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit, which will only assess and treat children referred by their GP. Any child likely to need an overnight stay in hospital will be treated elsewhere, usually at Conquest Hospital.

Mr Jamal Zaidi, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said: “These changes are being made purely on the grounds of safety and are fully supported by the obstetric and gynaecology consultants and senior midwives who work for the trust.”

Any permanent changes to maternity and paediatric services would be the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups and would be subject to a public consultation, the trust noted.