Meetings to discuss future of region’s health services

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THE future of maternity and children’s services at both the Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne’s DGH will come under the spotlight next month.

Bosses from the county’s three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which hold the purse strings for local health services, are holding extraordinary meetings in public on Wednesday, December 11 to consider a number of proposals.

A decision on the future of hospital beds for dementia patients will also be made.

Proposals include a bed reduction or a closure of St Gabriel’s Ward at the Conquest or Beechwood Ward in Uckfield or leaving things as they are.

A report containing proposals and recommendations for both matters will be published on the CCG websites one week in advance of the meetings.

The governing bodies of each CCG will be considering proposed options and will decide whether to submit them to East Sussex County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC).

HOSC will meet on January 10 next year to decide whether the proposals should be subject to formal public consultation.

Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and Hastings and Rother CCG will meet jointly to consider these two matters at the Horseshoe Inn, Posey Green, Windmill Hill, Herstmonceux from 2.30pm.

High Weald Lewes Havens CCG will meet at Lewes Sports Club, Kingston Road, Lewes, from 1.30pm.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meetings and ask questions.

Consultant-led maternity services were centralised at the Conquest in May while the DGH’s unit was turned into one led by midwives temporarily for up to 18 months.

Amanda Philpott, joint chief officer of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and Hastings and Rother CCG, said: “We have convened these extraordinary meetings to ensure the public can see decisions being made.

“In respect of maternity and paediatrics, governing bodies will be considering options for how these services might be delivered in a safe and sustainable way in the long term. If HOSC considers that these recommendations constitute a substantial change to local service provision then a 12-week period of widespread formal public consultation will commence in January. CCGs would then make a final decision next summer. The proposals around dementia have already been subject to public consultation.”

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