Hailsham MP backs calls to reinstate child health services

Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) March 11th 2013 E11036P
Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) March 11th 2013 E11036P

Hailsham’s MP has added his voice to concerns of top doctors at Eastbourne DGH that services for children are ‘unsafe’.

Consultants have issued a stark warning that paediatric services are at risk of ‘catastrophes and serious failure’ after changes to the service was made.

The damning statement by nine consultant paediatricians comes just two weeks after the controversial changes were made.

The changes included children no longer being able to stay overnight for treatment in the Friston Ward.

The group of consultants contacted MPs including Hailsham’s Charles Hendry and the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, calling on them to help restore safe paediatric services to the area.

Mr Hendry said there was an utmost urgency that talks are held over the changes.

He said: “It has always been my view that such decisions should be guided by medical expertise .

“And this statement shows how much concern there is amongst our local clinicians about the changes that have happened.

“It is a matter of the utmost urgency that there should be immediate and exhaustive discussions between management and clinicians, so there is total agreement on the safety of current service provision, and what steps they can jointly take to reintroduce the full range of services at Eastbourne as quickly as possible.

Anxious parents will rightly expect this to be addressed at once.”

The letter from the consultants read, ‘It is our united view that the paediatric service, although not perfect, was not unsafe but as reconfigured is now unsafe and there is the risk of serious failure’.

In the letter was from senior clinicians – Keith Brent, Imad Boles, Padmani de Silva, Geetha Gopal, John Mitchell, Veronica Leclezio, Melanie Liebenberg, John Somarib and Maggie Wearmouth .

The letter said, ‘We advised the chief executive that if acceptable safety could not be restored that we had duties to our patients, our local population, our profession, our regulators and the law to take our concerns outside the trust to seek a resolution.

“We were assured that urgent steps would be taken by the end of last week.

“In our view, the minimal steps which have been taken are inadequate and incidents with patients over the last few days, in our view, confirm the seriousness of the situation.”

The acute paediatric service in East Sussex is unsafe and is at risk of catastrophes and serious failure.

A spokesperson for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, appropriate action had been taken to address the issues raised by the senior clinicians.

The spokesperson said: “During the planning phase and more recently the Trust’s senior doctors and management have met with the consultant paediatricians at Eastbourne to understand the issues underlying their concerns.

“ We have taken appropriate and immediate actions to address the issues raised.”