Campaigners drop hospital legal bid

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THE fight to stop changes to three emergency services at the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH is over after campaigners decided not to launch a legal challenge against the proposals.

In December the health overview and scrutiny committee (HOSC) voted in favour of basing emergency orthopaedic surgery and emergency general surgery at the Conquest and moving stroke services to the DGH.

Members of the Save the DGH group launched legal proceedings to push for a judicial review but this week announced it was abandoning the move, saying the risk of failure was too high.

Stroke patients will now have to face a journey of almost 20 miles to get to the DGH for treatment.

Both Hands off the Conquest and Save the DGH want to see all emergency services kept at both hospitals.

Liz Walke, chairman of Save the DGH, said by the time the judicial review had come about the changes to the three services at both the Conquest and DGH would already have been implemented. She said the cost of the legal challenge was ‘significant’.

Ms Walke added: “Losing stroke services is the most serious thing that has hit Hastings in a long time. It’s fundamentally and morally wrong. It’s absolutely vital to be treated for a stroke quickly and if it’s not the consequences are devastating. The road between Hastings and Eastbourne is notoriously bad.”

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, welcomed the decision and insists centralising the three services will improve patient care, meaning better results for patients, better access to expert clinicians and better recovery rates.