CAMPAIGNERS battling to overturn controversial plans to change services at the Conquest Hospital and the DGH in neighbouring Eastbourne have made a last-ditch appeal to the Secretary of State.
The move comes after the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) last month agreed plans to focus emergency orthopaedic surgery and emergency general surgery at the Conquest and move acute stroke services to the DGH.
More than 5,000 people across 1066 Country signed letters addressed to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt voicing their opposition to the proposals and around 2,000 signed a petition.
In Eastbourne more than 35,000 people penned their signatures on a separate petition in protest.
Margaret Williams, chairman of Hands off the Conquest, said: “All emergency services should stay at both hospitals because of the poor road infrastructure we have. It is therefore not safe to move them.”
Members of Save the DGH raised their concerns with Mr Hunt this week at Whitehall.
The Secretary of State does have the power and authority to intervene if he feels the decision by HOSC is wrong. Campaigners are expected to hear from Mr Hunt within two weeks.
A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both the Conquest and Eastbourne’s DGH, said: “We firmly believe our proposals will enable us to provide better quality care to the population of East Sussex as a whole for years to come.
They will deliver better results for patients, better access to expert clinicians and better recovery rates. We also believe they help us to maintain two thriving major hospitals in Eastbourne and in Hastings.
“Our proposals were developed by local clinicians (including input from local clinical commissioning groups), in a long and exhaustive process with involvement from patient representatives, local people and other stakeholders, and have taken into consideration national best practice.”