Sarah launches her campaign to fight for maternity

Sarah Owen and Lord Bassam of Brighton outside the Conquest Hospital
Sarah Owen and Lord Bassam of Brighton outside the Conquest Hospital

A POLITICIAN has launched a campaign to fight against any potential downgrading of maternity and children’s services at the Conquest Hospital.

Sarah Owen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, set up the campaign this month with Lord Bassam of Brighton.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both the Conquest on The Ridge and Eastbourne DGH, is currently consulting on six options for the future of paediatric and maternity services in East Sussex, but none of them include maintaining a consultant-led maternity unit at both hospitals.

Sarah, who was born in the Buchanan Hospital, met with Lord Bassam of Brighton at the Conquest on Tuesday (February 18) where they discussed their concerns.

She said: “I was born in Hastings and want to ensure that the next generation can be born here too.

“We believe our hospitals need excellent quality consultant-led maternity services in place. For the hundreds of women who don’t have straight-forward births, having to travel across to Eastbourne in an emergency is clearly far from ideal. Please join the campaign to stop the downgrade of maternity services in our local hospital.”

Last March East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said it had been advised by doctors, midwives and nurses, together with the National Clinical Advisory Team that maternity and paediatric services at that time could not continue as they were.

As a result, from May 7 the DGH became a midwifery-led maternity unit and children could no longer stay overnight in the Friston Ward.

Consultant-led maternity was centralised at the Conquest.

In December the three East Sussex CCGs Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) published the six options .

They are currently carrying out consultation with the public.

Healthwatch East Sussex is organising a series of Question Time-style events on the future of maternity for residents, with the one in Hastings on Monday, March 3. To find out more go to:

To join Sarah’s campaign, visit for more information. To take part in the consultation visit or attend one of the consultation events listed there.