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A women writes: "I feel strongly that we should have two sites with consultant presence in Eastbourne and Hastings .
I don't mind sharing my personal experience as a patient who needed the O&G service in Eastbourne in June 2013 when I had a missed miscarriage .I had to wait for one hour to the paramedics when I was bleeding heavily in my own house, by that time my own sister and my husband had to save my life .When I was taken to the Conquest , my blood pressure was 80 /60 in the ambulance .
On arrival , they put me in a room with incubators, I had to ask them to take them out considering my condition . Nobody bothered to do FBC for me there !!
My feeling that My condition would have been managed batter if we had the service in Eastbourne..........I am happy to fight to have it back as not every woman is fortunate to have a sister who is a gynaecologist or a GP husband, who saved my life not the local hospital."
N writes...."We had our 4th child, Jenson on the 9th March 2014 at Eastbourne DGH birthing unit and all was great. However last Tuesday 8th April our little man developed what we thought was colic. We kept a close eye but his breathing suddenly became shallow and strained so we called the NHS. We had a paramedic and an ambulance on scene very quickly and they soon checked him over and advised a trip to hospital for a doctor to give him the full once over. This was around 9.15PM and as such the Eastbourne DGH was closed to child admissions as there is no pediatrician available after 5PM so it was off to Hastings!! XXX’s mother travelled in the ambulance to the hospital whilst I stayed home to look after our other three boys.
We stayed in touch every hour throughout the evening as our 4 week old son underwent various tests including blood tests and a lumbar puncture! At around 3.15AM our baby and his mother were transferred to Ashford as there was no room at Hastings!!!! Ok well as long as he is getting the treatment he needs I suppose we will have to cope was our main thought . He was admitted and stayed in hospital with his mum until Thursday morning when it was decided that he had a urine infection and that it was ok for him to be discharged so we drove over and collected mother and baby and eventually got home just after 5PM.
The staff were fine and treatment was as good as its ever been (so average and far from reassuring with the usual lack of information offered) however the distance from Eastbourne to Ashford, the fact that they will take you there but not arrange transport back and also that for the 3 days they were admitted there was no food available for mother as she was unable to breastfeed so was not entitled to any meals we found to be totally unacceptable. They take you almost 2 hours from home with no regard, and leave you to fend for yourself.
Having to travel to Hastings is bad enough given the transport and road network but to Ashford is just ridiculous and I am not sure if anyone is aware that if Hastings is full then this is the next option. If we had known then we would have opted for Brighton which would have been much easier for us to get to and closer to home. The NHS is becoming more ridiculous by the day and there is talk that we may be charged for future services above the taxes and contributions we already pay
Our baby son was due to be delivered at Eastbourne hospital on 18th August 2006. Due to an unforeseen problem, I was rushed into Eastbourne DGH on Sunday 16th July.
I was in great discomfort and scared (as this was my first baby) and did not understand what was going wrong. My partner had to rush to my aid (from the golf course) and my mother had to rush from her home in order to get me to the hospital.
Once I arrived at the hospital, it was 12 minutes from admission into the Maternity delivery unit until incision. The crash team were called into the operating theatre to perform an emergency Caesarean Section under general anaesthetic. This was not the way we had planned to have our first baby, but I appreciate that not all things in life go the way you plan. After waking from the anaesthetic I found out that our son had been rushed through to the SCBU department for treatment and care by, I must say a superb team of nurses, who didn't treat babies like numbers, but treated them and the parents as people. After three days both myself and our baby were discharged from hospital. He weighed 5lb 13oz and was 4 weeks premature, but all in all was well.
On my discharge from the hospital we met up with one of the emergency nurses and they informed us of the problem and why I was rushed in for an emergency C-Section.
A clot had appeared in my placenta causing a rupture, thus meaning the placenta broke away and resulting in no oxygen or blood going through to the baby. Had I not gone into the local hospital when I did (which was a 5 minute drive away, rather than a 45/50 minute drive to Hastings), then I would not be sitting here on maternity leave with my little boy laying next to me fast asleep. Instead I would be away from work on compassionate leave as I would have lost my child. It upsets me to even think about what could have happened. The emergency team at the hospital were fantastic and calm, at a time when we really needed it.
I cannot see how closing the unit will benefit anyone, when surely lives are more important!
He is now 8lb 1oz and doing so well, and for that we are truly grateful to Eastbourne District General Hospital Maternity Unit and the SCBU.
Adrian writes....Hi there, I have worked at QEQM Margate and William Harvey Ashford for the last two years. The "consolidation" of services to QEQM and WHH from the Kent & Canterbury has resulted in increased admissions at the other two with no discernible increase in capacity at the other two. Take WHH's ITU. It is now much busier as the only trauma and acute surgery centre for miles around, with the consolidation" of Maidstone and Canterbury. But with no increase in capacity. Ambulance crews frequently bring "Canterbury patients" to Ashford if it is not clear if the patient is surgical or medical - remember no acute surgery at Canterbury. So the additional strain is not just on services stripped at Canterbury, it's on all services. If a medical patient needs an out-of-hours surgical review, we have the silly situation of the patient having to be transferred to QEQM/WHH and then transferred back if the surgeons decide there is no acute surgical problem. On the flipside, we have no urologists on site at QEQM/WHH.. More phone calls, more unnecessary transfers. And then they have the cheek to close more medical and trauma beds at WHH! (Which promptly reopened during our continuous bed crises.) So now we have the ridiculous situation of a cathedral city of 50,000 people with no trauma, no acute surgery. The road between Canterbury and both Ashford & Margate is single carriageway and certainly not straight. To the people of East Sussex - don't let this happen to you!
Lyn H emailed You can count on my support 100% for keeping Maternity ward at DGH. Recently a friend went to DGH in labour and within 10 minutes of arriving at DGH she was having an emergency c section. She was told if she had had to go any further her son would not have been delivered alive. What more can I say. If you need any help from me on this issue, then you can count on it 100%, as today I saw the young baby who has gone from 5 lbs 13 to 8 lbs and has two very proud parents. If they had had to travel any further then I would be consoling them. Let me know what I can do to help
Mr H emailed I had my first heart attack in 1986, my second in1990. Since then my health has deteriorated as my heart became more clogged. It is through the excellent care I have had from the Cororonary Care Unit in cooperation with my GP that I am still alive. Had I needed to travel further afield for emergency treatment I might not be here now despite the best efforts of the paramedics. We need our hospital to remain local and if it means making savings elsewhere perhaps the Government might consider making them by getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan where we are obviously not wanted. Our babies and sick people are important to us, not some dubious attempt at glory abroad.
Mr W has emailed twice regarding a colonoscopy saying..At 86, and resident in Hailsham for 21 years, I have been grateful for the access to E.G.H. More especially as I need periodic checks for potential problems. What I have to say is very relevant to the current protests at loss of services for childcare and maternity care at E.G.H. For the past ten years, my periodic checks have been at E.G.H. Today, I received a summons to attend the
then.....Further to my earlier e-mail, I have some further news which may well interest you. Having spoken to Mr Saunder's secretary at EGH, she confirms that 'all routine colonoscopies are now being referred to Conquest'..no reason supplied!
Apparently, others have tried to obtain help with transport, but it seems you have to be half dead to qualify for hospital car service-from this end.
So the upshot is-I either fork out the £60 and smile. If I decline the procedure, I will be 'removed from the waiting list'-no messing!
I never thought things would get so bad whilst being told that all is hunky-dory with the NHS.
Mrs W states in her email The service which I received surrounding my son via A&E/ENT yesterday afternoon was superb. Had Yul not managed to dislodge the pen top he accidentally swallowed in school and been expected to have gone to the Conquest he would have died! A&E needs to remain open 24/7!
Pam has emailed. Save
Our daughter and her family live in
Expectant mothers certainly do not need the additional pressure of driving to a hospital outside the area, where are your priorities you’re picking on a very vulnerable group that need help at a particularly worrying time and they should not have to hold protest to get this message through to you.
Also the fact that everyone from Seaford and Eastbourne will be joining the already crowded hospital in
People are important!
Valerie says..Dear Madam, I would like to add my comments to your campaign, because I think it absolutely outrageous that these faceless wonders want to close down D G H.I worked there some years ago now, I was there for seven years & I was always struck by the ammount of waste that was going on.I always thought that the amount of so called managers that are there were too many, (what did they all do?) I (like one of the comments that was made,) was bullied too, because I did not conform to what they wanted & I told them so!!! I worked in C S S D & T S S U & although I loved the work the ethics of it were to say the least LACKING in many ways.
I think the D G H would save a lot of money by getting rid of most of the useless managerial staff, the money they are paid to do (it seemed to me,) nothing of any significance, would go a long way & would be put to much better use. I think that if there must be change then ask the people who are working 24/7 there what would they do to save money. Do a survey of each department by asking the senior medical staff in each department, what changes they would make, THATS HOW TO SAVE MONEY, ask the people who are in the know, not some faceless wonder in an office!!!
How can any one say that there are not enough patients going to the D G H to warrent it being kept open. it's totally ridiculous. I asked the census office how many people live in Eastbourne & the surrounding area & they told me, (not including children,) 68,834. So include people under 18yrs & there must be going on for 100,000 people, how many are there in Hastings, less than here I would wager!!!
My husband would have died Jan. 2005 if it were not for the A E department & the Cardiac unit, he would never have made it to Hastings or Brighton. I would like to wish you the very best of luck in your campaign to save the D G H. If there is anything I could help you with please feel free to ask, I do not know how I would help but I would try.
A Consultant at Eastbourne DGH says....I read with interest the comments (2 July, Your Say), in terms of the Eastbourne consultants speaking out in a similar way to the Pembroke response. I am unable to reveal my identity, but I am a senior clinical trust employee at the maternity department, and am very close indeed to the issues here. The emailer wonders why the Consultants do not speak out in support - I can tell you, from direct experience that this is simply not possible. The chief exec has banned all 'political statement' from trust staff on trust premises. This includes any campaign posters. Any individual daring to ignore this is bullied and intimidated by her senior managers. If this fails, disciplinary action is immediately employed. This has been carried out on at least one senior colleague. Such events on one's record do not make for happy reading and can and have ended careers.
The emailer also correctly suggested that some consultants might be looking after their own interests by falling in with the management line. Make no mistake, this is exactly what is going on with at least two of them. Some of the others, however, are devoted to patient services, but have been gagged by the heavy handed tactics. The DGH is frightening place to work if you have an opinion.
There is a culture of bullying within the maternity department and I am sorry to say that this is becoming evident in the way that we as staff are dealt with in terms of our support for the save the DGH campaign.. Any dissenting voices are quickly hushed, no matter how many dirty tricks it takes to do it. I myself am devoted to and passionate about high standard services for our local women and their families. Guess how popular that makes me? Already I have had false statements and accusation made about me.
The drive to close is simply about money. The pot has run dry and the SHA are making decisions whose outcomes they do not comprehend. If maternity goes, so will paediatrics, A&E, ITU, and other acute services. This is not academic, it is what will happen.
Email received 2nd July reads EASTBOURNE CONSULTANTS SHOULD FIGHT THE CAUSE - THEY SHOULD MIRROR THE PEMBROKE RESPONSE It is important that Consultants fight for the preservation of essential core services in their local units. Chris Overton (Consultant) and his colleagues at Withybush Hospital on the Pembswat team publicly fought the closure of their hospital, yet Eatbourne Consultants are commenting via the Trust PR office. Why are Withybush (Pembroke) colleagues fighting for their local essential services while Eastbourne Consultants are doing what they are told by senior management? Why do Pembroke Consultants freely talk to the public and the media, while some Eastbourne consultants are being threatened with disciplinary action and loss of jobs if they speak out? Some Eastbourne Consultants may feel they will be favoured by management (with bonus payments and promotion etc.) if they present the management view. Some of the decisions are being taken by people who spend very little time in the Maternity Unit. Indeed, some senior management have made statements about the Maternity Unit, but have never ever physically visited the Unit.
Wendy emailled... I'd like to be a part of your campaign and am responsible for publishing Kids Fun File to 13,000 families in Eastbourne and Hailsham. I have also just launched a Kids Fun File website at http://www.kidsfunfile.com/. I intend to put your details into the website and will be more than happy to keep everyone updated with any news.
Email from Margaret says.......Sadly what is happening to Eastbourne and Hasting Trust hospitals has already happened in other Trusts around the country. Crawley and Redhill is just one example. What happen there will happen in Eastbourne and Hastings.I believe this government will privatise the health service of this country and that is their aim. Stream line it and put it in the black and sell it off to the private sector to run it like it has cleaning and catering already in the NHS.
Sue and David emailed 15th May 2006........Dear Secretary of State, We would like to strongly register our dismay, disappointment and total disagreement with the 'cuts' you are suggesting for the District General Hospital, Eastbourne. Your so-called 'cuts initiative' would seriously affect and limit core services in Eastbourne, even perhaps involving the closure of the maternity ward AND the 24 hour A&E department - and we are absolutely appalled. Have you any real idea just how large and widespread Eastbourne and the surrounding area is - and how many people, young and old, rely on the services of this hospital? To add insult to injury, I believe you also have similar crazy ideas for Hastings, too!?!? How would you feel if it were your children, family or parents who were declined help simply because of some Government 'cost-saving' initiative? Perhaps if you concentrated more on the nurses and doctors - and much less on the administrative, red-tape-time-taking side - then things might be more financially viable.What happened to 'caring' for the people ... has this government lost sight of the ordinary person altogether? Sincerely Sue & David Bennett
Email from Brian Valentine says......I have been brought up to date with the situation in the department that consumed a considerable part of my professional life. On that basis perhaps a historically informed input might be considered acceptable.Eastbourne was always ‘under some degree’ of threat from the time of my appointment in 1981. The official Special Care Baby Unit [SCBU] was located in Hastings . It was always considered only reasonable by management and Hastings that all those likely to require care were delivered on that site.My colleague, Mr Julian Shardlow, and I argued that the alternative was to upgrade the local SCBU and he was successful in managing to get management to accept that logic, with the full support of the Paediatricians of the time who worked at ‘both ends’ but lived in Eastbourne , the departmental Midwives and myself. Mr Vincent Argent also supported that opinion following his appointment. The money was obtained from various charitable and NHS sources and a very acceptable unit was eventually produced. There is also the ‘ring fenced’ SCBU Eastbourne Cot in the Trevor Mann unit, which was funded from ‘The Funds’ my patients and I raised over the years. It seems that the difference on this occasion is that management wish to downgrade the unit with the support of the departmental directors of both paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology. That seems likely to be a recipe for eventual success as they have the power and have specifically been chosen for their positions because of the acceptability of their views and attitudes to management decisions.
The only other support we obtained was from the anaesthetists. They realised that if obstetric care was reduced, or departed, then it would be unlikely the anaesthetic training jobs would be acceptable to the Royal College of Anaesthetists in the long term. Their support was very important as they realised more than most that if obstetrics departed then slowly other disciplines would follow leaving a much reduced local service on many fronts, although the final picture might not become obvious for several years.
Since my retirement I’ve been in Scotland fighting, and at the present time winning, a similar battle to keep services local. Here we had distance, poor road infrastructure and inclement weather conditions on our side, but against that we did not provide the totally comprehensive service available in Eastbourne due to the area and a lack of staffing capability. Hence the argument was more evenly balanced but only time will tell how long it is before the managers come back for another attempt at ‘rationalisation’ of services into large units. The local pressure group ran a 7 year media campaign against closure backed totally by clients and midwifery staff. There were numerous marches and quite unpleasant national television scenes. I was able to support those claims and anxieties clinically, although a very late arrival on the scene. To my medical colleagues I was considered to have ‘gone nativel’ but not totally ignored by Scottish Ministers and SNP’s Eventually common sense prevailed, at least for the time being, to the joy of the local population and the families that no longer faced considerable disruption to family life should the unit have been downgraded. But, it did take that amount of work and fighting input to achieve success, and even that success may be short lived due to managerial visionary and financially pragmatic views.
I wish you luck with your quest but it will take a lot of effort to defeat an entrenched management with what seems likely to be considerable confirmed managerial medical support. I am sure the Editor of the Eastbourne Gazette and Herald will be as supportive as he is asked to be but he can only respond usefully to factual input as against rhetoric and memory. I am sure such evidence for a locally based unit does exist, and hopefully it will be seen to exist, and be fully supported by Mr Nigel Waterson MP and today’s Consultants. Personally I am sure we were right in our stance to maintain a fully functional secondary unit as local back–up to the primary birthing unit in Crowborough. I presume if Eastbourne loses its obstetric role then Crowborough would revert back to Tunbridge Wells as the journey time to Hastings would not be short.
IN RESPONSE TO THE LATEST ARTICLE IN FRIDAY THE 21ST OF APRILS ADDITION OF THE HERALD, ENTITLED "FUNDRAISER DEMANDS HER MONEY BACK"
I should like to take this opportunity to update everyone on this particular situation.
I can confirm, that our fourth and final letter to the chief executive of the Dgh was as the article states, a formal notice requesting that our fundraising money be returned. I should like to point out however, that the Dgh only replied to this letter once the notice we had given them had expired and we had contacted the local press!
We should like to remind the "spokesperson" for the Dgh that in a previous article we were assured "that the funds raised money is sitting in the Litlington ward account and in accordance with the wishes of the donors, has been ring-fenced for this particular project, If we cannot meet the donors wishes, trustees are obliged to return the funds to the donors unless agreement to an alternative use can be reached"
However, we are now told that because of relevant legislation these funds are now tied up in a charitable account that cannot be released! I will leave the truth behind this statement for our readers to decide for themselves!
In conclusion, I should like to inform you all that we have declinded the offer of a meeting for the following reasons. A meeting with members of the maternity and paediatric team would serve no purpose. Our money was raised for their department and the decisions on what to spend it on were made with them. I believe we can safely say that the majority of staff working in this department sympathise with our concerns for our money!
It is the trustees who should have been prepared to meet with us and offer some degree of reassurance but they have never been prepared to do this, therefore it is now a case of TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. The only agreement we will reach as to the future of these funds, is when and where they will be returned to us. We are currently awaiting further legal advice and will keep you all informed. Thank you Monica (representing Ellas Memorial Walk)
An email received (21st April 2006) says.... ROYAL COLLEGE DISASSOCIATES FROM MATERNITY SERVICES REVIEW Look at the latest article on http://www.pembswat.co.uk/ It is very very important. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has officialy stated that the so-called RCOG Report did not represent the views of the College. The Vice President of the RCOG has written to the Welsh National Assembly. This shows how Trusts have used unofficial ' advisors ' to tell them what they want to hear. There is no way that East Sussex Hospitals Trust can claim to be representing the advice of the Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists.
Tracey writes..... I had my son at DGH last October and the staff there were fantastic. In fact such was the speed with which Charles arrived, I would not have made it over to Hastings in time and would have had him en route. I arrived at the delivery unit at 7.30pm and Charles was born at 8.20pm. I received the most wonderful support and care from the staff - it could not have been better. I cannot understand the logic behind the closure - it seems to me that, as usual, its services to women which are the first to be axed. If were are not fighting to receive life saving drugs to halt the progress of breast cancer, we are having to fight to keep open maternity units. Why is it deemed acceptable that women ready to give birth should then undertake a hiddeous journey over to Hastings when we have a wonderful facility on our doorstep. The hospital is such a valuable asset to the community of Eastbourne and we need it. I know that to many people who have never been to Eastbourne the perception is that this is a town dominated by an ageing population and perhaps those people who make the decisions about the dgh think this is so. However, since I had my son, I have realised that there is a vast number of young families here and it is these people who are the future of Eastbourne, the town will not survive without them and if we cut back services at the DGH frankly the people who would use them won't stay.
An email received says... The public should be encouraged to write to the Chairman and non-Executives of the East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust. They have a duty to tell the Chief Executive and the Board what the local population wants for its health care services.
Dr W writes.... I spent 35 years as a G.P. and I find the services offered by the hospital far below what should be expected. Staff who outnumber nurses spend their time walking around with clip boards. Waiting times are obviously being 'fixed' to meet targets and there is a feeling of total frustrstion amongst medical staff. To save money administration has to be reduced dramatically and the Doctors given total say in how the hospital is run. When I was a houseman the hospital was run by Matron and the Hospital Secretary and his assistant. There were non of the fancy posts that we have now like ''Patient pathway co-ordinator'' whatever that means.
One mother writes.... When my husband Aydin and I, first heard the rumours about the threatened closure of the Maternity Unit, we felt we had no choice but to stand up and fight! The Staff and Services of the entire Dgh Maternity Department have stood by us throughout our struggle to start our family and if nothing else, we feel it is the least we can do to show our gratitude!
I, like many women, thought that having babies would be easy, but for me it hasn't been. In the last four years we have been through the most emotional, life changing rollercoaster of experiences that we could ever have imagined. In this time, I have had six pregnancies. Three of those pregnancies tragically ended in miscarriage. All at different stages and all totally unrelated. One of those pregnancies ended devastatingly in our first daughter Ella, being stillborn at 35 weeks. Ella was perfectly healthy, yet somehow she managed to get her cord wrapped around her neck four times.
Now, thanks to all our little angels we have been blessed with Samuel (2 & a half) and Jessie (15 mths)! However, both of their arrivals in to the world, were touch and go and equally traumatic! Samuel was delivered by emergency caesarean at the Dgh, 5 weeks early, after I suffered a placental abruption. He spent a week in the Dgh's superb SCBU.
Things started to look bad for Jessie even earlier. At just 31 weeks I had very little amniotic fluid and she had gained very little weight. She was expected to need the care of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit so our consultant organised for my transfer. Due to the growing need and demand for special care facilities in the South East, everywhere was FULL, not understaffed, FULL! Hence, the reason Jessie was born in Ilford, Essex! We were soon made to realise that the Dgh was a 5 Star Establishment in comparison. I discharged myself after 3 days. Jessie was small and poorly, but she soon became stable and after ten days she was transferred back to Eastbourne's SCBU where she stayed until she was four weeks old.
Coming back to the Dgh was like coming home. If it confirmed anything to us, it was simply that emotional well-being plays a huge part in the recovery from any illness or trauma. Being in a place you know, with people you know and more importantly, people you trust is top priority in our opinion! EASTBOURNE MATERNITY IS AND HAS THE BEST OF THE BEST!
For us, being a High Risk Pregnancy Patient, meant constant monitoring and weekly visits to the Dgh for treatment and tests throughout each entire pregnancy. We did at one point consider pitching a tent up out in the car park. My husband had to completely rearrange his working week around appointments, but it was all worth it simply to ease the anxiety that comes with complicated pregnancies. Everyone from housekeepers and receptionists through to midwives and our consultant helped us get through this period in our lives. They kept us sane.
Having all our treatment at the Dgh meant we could take samuel with us without causing him too much disruption, it meant my husband could simply rearrange his work rather than cancel jobs and loose income and as with any situation, it meant that family and friends were around us if we needed them.
After we lost Ella, we felt the need to do something positive in her memory. We set up the Ella's Memorial Walk Trust and after two local sponsored events we raised just under £7,000 specifically intended for specialist equipment on the Maternity ward. Several items were trialled but were not suitable and we were consulted on all the options. Early last year, an alternative was suggested to us which we were very happy with. Plans were discussed in depth as to a Bereavement Suite on the ward, where parents who like us, had lost a baby could be treated with privacy, dignity and respect.
Now, however, this is all on hold! We have now requested on three occasions to reclaim the money and hold it in safekeeping until the future of the Maternity Department is secured, but have had little response. Over 75 people participated in our events for one reason alone. This money was intended for the specialist services on Maternity at EASTBOURNE and WE ARE NOT PREPARED FOR IT TO BE USED IN ANY OTHER WAY OR AT ANY OTHER HOSPITAL! We are now in the process of consulting a solicitor.
That is our experience of our local hospital so far, one which we intend to fight for! The People of Eastbourne deserve a hospital with services to be proud of. We will endeavour to keep everyone informed through this website and the media. If anyone wishes to contact me regarding our own experiences, the campaign or with a story of why you need us to keep our local hospital then please do so on the address below: firstname.lastname@example.org
Polegate Town Council supporting letter (2006)
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Our Definition: Core services include 24 hour A & E full service, 24 hour in-patient Paediatric beds, 24 hour Consultant - led Obstetric service, 24 hour acute Medical admissions, 24 hour acute Surgical, I.T.U. & H.D.U. beds and any pathology and radiological services essential for the core services to be able to function