Health watchdogs have given approval to the decision by NHS bosses to permanently centralise consultant-led maternity at the Conquest Hospital.
The county council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) met on Monday (July 28) to consider the decision made by the the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to move obstetrics, emergency gynaecology, inpatient paediatrics and the special care baby unit to the hospital on The Ridge, leaving just a midwife-led unit at Eastbourne’s DGH.
The CCGs, which hold the purse strings for healthcare services, made their decision last month.
In a joint statement they said: “We thank members of HOSC for their rigorous scrutiny in this process and are grateful for the constructive recommendations made. While this was a difficult decision for CCGs and we understand the concerns expressed by some people, the evidence has clearly and compellingly demonstrated that it is the best possible solution to achieving safe and high quality services for women and children in East Sussex. We can now continue with the implementation of this configuration and have listened to the public and others about how we can make this option work best for local people.”
Dr Andy Slater, medical director (strategy) for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Our primary concern has always been, and will continue to be, the safety of babies, mothers and children. This decision puts an end to the long running issue of the provision of maternity services in East Sussex with the recognition that it is far safer and clinically sustainable to provide services from one consultant led obstetric unit. It represents the best way forward to ensure safe and high quality services for mothers, babies and children in East Sussex.”
Consultant-led maternity was first centralised in Hastings in May last year.