Help shape the future of maternity and paediatric services in East Sussex

PEOPLE’S views are being sought as a new series of focus groups and interviews on maternity get underway.

They are being led by the three GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in East Sussex as part of their Better Beginnings review of local maternity and paediatric services.

Concerns have been raised about maternity services and the road infrastructure when it comes to transporting expecting mums to hospital.

An initial period of patient and public engagement this summer looked at the clinical case for reviewing how these services operate. CCGs are now beginning to consider how maternity and paediatrics can best be provided in a safe, sustainable and high-quality way in the long term.

The focus groups and interviews are being run to seek people’s views on how these services might be delivered as part of the CCGs’ continual commitment to openness and engagement with the public.

Dr Roger Elias, a GP in Bexhill and chair of Hastings and Rother CCG, said: “We want to test and understand the possible opportunities and challenges of the different ways these services could be provided from the perspective of patients and their families. What are the potential benefits of the various models, and what do people have concerns about?”

East Sussex Healthcare Trust introduced temporary changes to maternity and paediatric services at the Eastbourne District General Hospital and the Conquest Hospital, in May 2013 on the grounds of safety.

Dr Elias added: “The CCGs supported the temporary changes and are reassured that safety has improved as a result. However the process of reviewing these services is quite separate from the temporary changes. No decisions have been made and it should not be assumed that the temporary arrangements will be the long-term solution.

“We are genuine in our commitment to talking and listening to the public, patients and local clinicians.”

A focus group on maternity takes place at the Station Plaza Health Centre at Hastings on Tuesday October 29 from 6pm - 8pm and on Paediatric Services at Hastings Town Children’s Centre, Waterworks Rd, Hastings, on Friday November 8 from 9.30am - 11.30am. Anyone wishing to attend should book a place by emailing jack.newnham@nhs.net or calling 01424 755470 (ext 5227).