Have your say on local maternity services

Crowborough hospital
Crowborough hospital

A public consultation on the future of NHS maternity, in-patient paediatric and emergency gynaecology services in East Sussex was launched on Tuesday by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs.)

The full consultation document can be downloaded at the consultation website which also hosts an online survey for public responses. Some 30 public engagement events are planned over the coming weeks, with details on the website.

There are six potential options for providing these services across hospital sites in Eastbourne, Hastings and Crowborough. Last autumn Crowborough families were angry to find the birthing centre temporarily closed.

On behalf of colleagues, Dr Elizabeth Gill, from Buxted, chair of High Weald Lewes Havens CCG, said: “We want as many people as possible to find out more about the options and have their say. We encourage them to read the document and understand why there was an urgent need to change services locally to improve safety and quality.

“Too many women and children were being placed at risk of harm and as local GPs we cannot allow that to continue. The safety and quality of local services will always be our top priority.

“These six options are the only ones we believe can ensure the high standards we expect as local GPs in the long-term. We have no preferred option at this stage. We want to know what you think and look forward to having a genuine conversation with people to help us make the right decision.”

All six include providing obstetric-led maternity services, two midwife-led birthing units and an overnight ‘in-patient’ paediatric ward in East Sussex. There would continue to be a short-stay paediatric assessment unit at both Eastbourne and Hastings. Four of the six include a midwife-led unit at Crowborough.

Under each, emergency gynaecology services would be located at the same site as obstetrics but the options do not include the provision of obstetrics and in-patient paediatrics on both hospital sites.

Visit: www.betterbeginning-nhs.net, email hrccg.betterbeginnings@nhs.uk, call 01273 402563 or write freepost to Better Beginnings, East Sussex CCGs, Freepost SEA2474, BN8 2ZZ. The consultation closes on April 8. CCGs will make a decision in summer 2014