Obstetrics unit closure fears

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I am the Maternity Services Representative of the Uckfield, Heathfield and District NCT (National Childbirth Trust).

I was recently informed that East Sussex Hospitals Trust has called an extraordinary general meeting for this Friday in order to make a decision about single siting obstetric services in East Sussex. Basically their recommended proposal seems to be to close the consultant led unit at EDGH and turn Eastbourne into a midwife led unit. All consultant led services would henceforth be at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

While I applaud, as I’m sure you do, the creation of any new midwife led units, I have serious reservations about closing a main obstetric unit to do so. New MLUs should be additional capacity not replacements. We as an NCT branch have concerns about the health and well being of labouring women, who will now have to travel further to reach a main obstetric unit.

An unintended consequence of this decision, should it be made, is that women from North Wealden who want to go to a consultant unit will now almost certainly choose to go outside the county to give birth, opting to go to the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, or to Pembury Hospital as both of these are nearer than Hastings.

An extraordinary meeting of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust board will be held in public on Friday, March 8, commencing at 2.30pm in the Manor Barn, 4 de la Warr Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, TN40 2JA

Alison Ledward

Maternity Services Rep, Uckfield