Our Timeline


2016 March
New Chief Executive for ESHT announced as Dr Adrian Bull, starting from April 11th 2016.

February 2016

David Clayton-Smith was appointed Chairman of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. 


2015 December
Interviews for the new Chairman of ESHT

2015 November
ESHT publishes their Quality Improvement Plan.

2015 October
The Campaign Group writes and publishes a document as a contribution to the National Maternity Review board

2015 September
A CQC Report was published rating the ESHT as “Inadequate”. Subsequently ESHT was put into “Special Measures”. The NHS Trust Development Authority takes responsibility for supervising the Trust. Stuart Welling, Chair of ESHT, stepped down. Campaign Group meets with Baroness Cumberledge to discuss our draft submission

2015 August
National Maternity Review launched, Chaired by Baroness Cumberledge.

2015 July
Darren Grayson resigned without any apology or acknowledgement of failings.

2015 May
Save the DGH Campaign Group took part in the Eastbourne Carnival with a walking float.

2015 April
The Campaign Group met to discuss the Report, acknowledging a need to commend frontline staff who were rated good for the care provided

2015 March
The CQC Second inspection took place four days before the Report was published of the September 2014 inspection


2014 November
24,000 signatures were collected over an 8 day period for a Petition asking the Secretary of  State for Health to carry out an Independent Review into the decision to make permanent the temporary single siting of Consultant-led Maternity Services.

2014 September
The CQC inspect East Sussex Healthcare Trust

2014 September
A baby was born at the side of the road in an ambulance on the way to the Conquest. Baby had the cord wrapped around its neck twice. Paramedic (Jim) said he had also delivered a baby the previous week in the Conquest car park! Yet the local NHS reported only one baby born in an ambulance since May 2013!  Wouldn’t have included these two babies, as the Trust were replying to our question which had been put to them in July… at a CCG Governing Body meeting. We are also aware of baby deaths but women are too upset to speak publicly about these, or complain, although some have outstanding issues being dealt with by East Sussex Healthcare Trust.

2014 July
HOSC ratify the Trust’s decision and proposal to single-site Consultant-led Maternity Services at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings

2014 June
Joint CCG Boards decide to make permanent the temporary single-siting of Consultant-led Maternity and Paediatrics at the Conquest Hospital

2014 March - June
HOSC evidence gathering. Save the DGH Campaign Group publishes their Option 7 making the case for the dual siting of Consultant-led Maternity Services.

2014 February
‘Better Beginnings’ consultation document launched setting out ESHT’s proposals for Maternity & Paediatrics reconfiguration proposals. There were six options but no option at all was included for dual siting Consultant-led services at both Eastbourne and Hastings. It was a fait accompli it seems.


2013 December
Emergency General Surgery was single-sited to the Conquest Hospital

2013 September
Stroke Services were single-sited from the Conquest in Hastings to Eastbourne DGH. A protest march was held on the 7th when people walked around the Hospital from Sussex Downs College along Kings Drive and around the back of the site back to the college.

2013 August  
Attempted a world record for the largest delivered Postcard, which we delivered by hand to the EDGH

2013 June
Over 30 local Mums and their children join the Campaign at the Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival to publicise concern about the downgrading of Consultant-led Maternity and Paediatrics Services from the EDGH.  Won Highly Commended for the walking float.

2013 May
Just three days after removal of the Consultant-led Maternity Service at EDGH, a baby is born by the side of the road on the way to Hastings, with the aid of two passing paramedics.

2013 March
The Campaign Group launched a Facebook Page calling for ESHT Chief Executive, Darren Grayson, to resign

East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which run Eastbourne DGH,  called a Board meeting and agreed to downgrade Consultant-led Maternity Services at Eastbourne DGH, citing safety concerns, and without any public consultation, and despite the Care Quality Commission stating that it was a safe service in February 2013!! A Midwife-led service would remain, even thought there was a national shortage of midwives

2013 February
A Campaign Group letter to the Eastbourne Herald was written in February 2013 said:
“As members of the Save the DGH Campaign Group, we are writing to update readers on our current campaign to stop East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust; East Sussex Downs & Weald Primary CareTrust; and Hastings & Rother Primary Care Trust transferring emergency and higher risk general surgical services and emergency and higher risk orthopaedic services from the DGH to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
It has been decided not to fight this decision by legal challenge/Judicial Review for several reasons.

Firstly because, although in 2008 the Secretary of State overturned a decision by the PCTs to move consultant - led emergency Maternity services from the DGH, recommendations made by the Independent Review Panel at that time have not been implemented despite public and patient opinion, cross-party concerns and the advice of experts from an independent authority.

Secondly, the NHS is currently under a great deal of media and public scrutiny due to concerns about patient safety and quality of care provided by hospitals. Both staff and patients in the NHS are coming forward with information and voicing their anxieties, and so we will be taking action based on any serious concerns being expressed.

Thirdly, although Campaign Chair, Liz Walke, has been willing (with her family’s support) to risk home and savings in taking on the Trusts, our past experience over maternity services shows us that even a successful legal challenge would be unlikely to change the approach currently adopted by the Trusts.

Our concern, as local residents and cross-party leaders, is that any changes to local services take into account the four tests set out by central government. In his 2010 letter Sir David Nicholson (Chief Executive of NHS England) wrote, "The Secretary of State has identified four key tests for service change, which are designed to build confidence within the service, with patients and communities.The tests were set out in the revised Operating Framework for 2010-11 and require existing and future reconfiguration proposals to demonstrate:

support from GP commissioners;
• strengthened public and patient engagement;
• clarity on the clinical evidence base; and
• consistency with current and prospective patient choice.”

We know of senior medics who have concerns, on behalf of their patients, about the decision to transfer these services to one site. They, like us, are worried about the adverse consequences for residents living in both Eastbourne and Hastings. We also know from our own evidence, consistently gathered over the last five years or more, that majority local public opinion is for all core emergency services to be based in their local hospital. Eastbourne area patients do not regard the Conquest Hospital as local nor easily accessible. We are not convinced that so called ‘centres of excellence’ which are remote from the locality provide patients with access to better quality and safer emergency care. Eastbourne has a particular coastal location and its hospital should meet the needs of a growing population and also that of residents in towns to the north and west.
Services in Eastbourne should be designed accordingly. Our campaign to protect locally based core services will continue unabated.

Signed by Save the DGH campaign group members:
Vincent Argent FRCOG; Cllr Colin Belsey; Richard Booth FCA FCCA; Dr John Clarke; Tim Cobb; Monica Corrina-Kavakli; Helen Key; Stephen Lloyd MP; Ian Lucas; Sandy Medway; Cllr David Tutt; Liz Walke (Campaign Chair); Nigel Waterson.


2012 December
Gained more than 36,000 signatures in 18 days on the Petition specifically against the removal of core services from Eastbourne DGH and presented it to Cllr Rupert Simmons, Chairman of the East Sussex Health Overview Scrutiny Committee, at their December meeting. The campaign group were with a coach load of supporters.

2012 November
The Board of East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT), which runs Eastbourne DGH, agreed to remove Trauma & emergency Orthopaedics and emergency General Surgery from Eastbourne DGH and relocate in Hastings; and to single-site Stroke services from Hastings to Eastbourne DGH. We launched a new Petition against these changes.

2012 September
2,000 protestors marched along Eastbourne’s promenade to protest against plans ESHT were making to single site core services in their clinical strategy at either the Conquest or EDGH

2012 July
Protest against NHS public consultation was held outside the Congress Suite, Carlisle Road

2012 June
Campaign supporters won a Highly Commended ribbon at the Eastbourne Carnival for its walking float.  Over 2,000 leaflets were given to the public with an update on ‘at risk’ local NHS hospital services


2008 September
VICTORY for the Campaign.  People Power wins!  Secretary of State for Health, on advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), did not accept the plans to remove consultant-led Maternity from Eastbourne deeming the service to be less safe without the consultants

2008 August
Stand at Eastbourne’s Airbourne event in order to highlight the current situation

2008 March
East Sussex Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) referred the decision to downgrade Maternity at Eastbourne DGH to the Secretary of State for Health for an independent review

2008 Feb
MP Nigel Waterson, Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist, Vincent Argent and Liz Walke met Ann Keen, Health Minister


2007 December
The Board of East Sussex Hospitals Trust (now East Sussex Healthcare Trust) decided that Eastbourne DGH would lose it consultant-led Maternity unit

Two giant Christmas cards, one from the Save the DGH Campaign and one from Hands Off the Conquest were delivered to Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, to the Department of Health at Richmond House in London accompanied by some East Sussex MPs

2007 November
Over 1,500 people marched in protest against the proposed removal of consultant-led Maternity, from the Pier to the Town Hall, where a Christmas card was signed and delivered to the Department of Health

2007 March
21 women in red t-shirts headed up a march of over 2,000 protesters from the DGH to the Bandstand and then each said how they, or their children, had needed consultant-led Maternity at Eastbourne DGH


2006 December
12 hour vigil outside the the Rodmill Pub opposite the hospital to protest against removal of consultant-led Maternity from the DGH

2006 October
A delegation from the Save the DGH Campaign Group met with the serving Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to plead with him to stop any removal of core services from Eastbourne DGH

2006 September
First Protest March in which over 5,000 people marched from The Avenue to the DGH along Kings Drive, carrying banners and posters

2006 March
Inaugural meeting in Nigel Waterson’s office to set up a Cross-Party Campaign to Save the DGH from cuts to emergency and essential core services


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PLEASE READ "Save the DGH - what the future holds" Leaflet

Core Services.

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