The two public consultations were launched by the NHS on December 6. The proposals, developed in the past year by health professionals, hope to improve the care available in East Sussex and cut waiting times.
For cardiology, clinicians plan to create new cardiac response teams at the emergency departments at the DGH and Conquest Hospital, and to concentrate the most highly specialised cardiac services at one or other of the hospital sites.
Clinicians believe that specialist heart teams based at each emergency department would mean patients start receiving care more quickly.
The clinicians behind the proposals argue that for patients who need the most complex treatments, concentrating highly specialist care at one site would enable staff to develop greater expertise in new treatments.
For ophthalmology, clinicians plan to consolidate the current services provided at Eastbourne District General Hospital, Bexhill Hospital and Conquest Hospital into two sites at Eastbourne District General Hospital and Bexhill Hospital.
They argue that this would enable patients to have quicker access to tests and treatment and more input from the most senior clinicians, and that it would also enable one-stop clinics, reducing the number of appointments patients need to attend.
Dr David Walker, medical director of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and a cardiology consultant, said, “Our staff are proud of the great care that they provide to our patients.
“But we know that to ensure excellent outcomes, our services must continue to adapt to take advantage of medical advances and meet the changing needs of local people.”
Dr David Warden, a local GP and clinical chair of NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said, “In developing the proposals, we have spoken directly to people who use our services, their carers and families, as well as people who work in our services.
“We look forward to hearing the views of more local people now, so that we can ensure we deliver the best possible care for people in East Sussex.”
Despite being active for just two days, many Eastbourne residents have already made their views on the proposals clear.
Liz Walke, chair of the Save the Eastbourne District General Hospital Campaign, said, “We are pleased that Eastbourne DGH is keeping its opthalmology services but obviously concerned about the possibility of Cardiology specialist services going from Eastbourne.
“These services are absolutely vital in our hospital and the treatment we understand is closely linked with treatment of Stroke services. We will not countenance any removal or downgrading of our cardiology services from the DGH and will be putting this in the strongest terms possible in our response to the public consultation.”
The consultations will run for 14 weeks from December 6 to March 11.
For further details visit the Sussex Health and Care website.