A NEW chairman has been appointed to oversee a review into the future of the Conquest’s maternity unit.
Oliver Mills was chosen this week, three weeks after the four-month review started.
It has cast doubt on the future of the unit, together with maternity services at the Conquest’s sister hospital Eastbourne DGH.
Bosses at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, said there needed to be changes to both units in due course otherwise mothers’ and babies’ lives could be put at risk.
The news comes much to the dismay of campaigners, who successfully fought off plans in 2007 to close either the Conquest’s or the DGH’s maternity unit.
Mr Mills is a registered social worker, holding various positions on Kent County Council adult social services since 1987, having recently retired as its managing director.
Darren Grayson, trust chief executive, said: “Oliver is a highly regarded and respected person who has the right skills and experience to undertake a thorough independent review of our maternity and associated services. I am sure he will do an excellent job.”
The review is expected to last until September and will involve a series of public meetings with all interested parties. The date of the first meeting has yet to be set.
Mr Mills said: “I will make sure everyone’s voice is heard and clinicians and staff are fully engaged in the process.”
The review will also include the associated services of neonatology, paediatrics and emergency gynaecology in the future.