Union leader has ‘grave concerns’ over hospital cuts

UNION bosses at the Conquest have hit out at comments made by the hospital’s chief executive warning locals to come to terms with sharing services with nearby Eastbourne.

Earlier this month the head of East Sussex Healthcare Trust, Darren Grayson, lifted the lid on the hospital’s perilous finanical position and said a raft of measures would need to be introduced to save a mammoth £100million over the next five years.

But it was his comments regarding the possible downgrading of services at the Conquest which caused most furore – particularly it seems among staff.

Mr Grayson said: “We will need to look at things as one hospital on two sites (DGH and the Conquest). We will simply not be able to afford – and it does not always serve patients well – to have two of everything, one in Hastings and one in Eastbourne.”

The lead rep of the GMB union at the trust, Dave Carroll, was quick to respond: “Darren’s statements are deeply unsettling to the already demoralised staff in this trust who are trying their hardest to provide the service our community deserves and we have grave concerns that moving forward with this approach will impact upon patient care.”

He also questioned the timing of advertising for a new high ranking member of staff at the same time as saying the truist needs to cut its cloth.

“To be saying that this trust is in such financial turmoil that the idea to sacrifice core services on either site is a credible option while recently advertising for an assistant chief executive’s position truly is astounding,” said Mr Carroll.

A spokesman for the trust said the recently advertised position was a joint role, also taking in the responsibilities of chief operating officer, and that it was simply a replacement job – not a new position. They added that it would not cost any more than the successful applicant’s predecessor and that it was vital to the working of the trust here in East Sussex.