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Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 15:50 GMT
Maternity options met with anger
Eastbourne District General Hospital and a 'Hands off the Conquest' T-shirt
Campaigns in Eastbourne and Hastings have gone to Westminster
Hospital campaigners are criticising formal proposals which would see a consultant-led maternity unit being shut in one of two East Sussex towns.

Two primary care trusts (PCTs) have revealed four options for change under the NHS Fit for the Future programme.

Either Eastbourne District General Hospital or the Conquest, in Hastings, could lose full obstetric services.

But opponents said there should be an option for both sites to keep their current maternity units.

The boards of East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT and Hastings and Rother PCT are due to meet on Friday to discuss the proposals.

Fifteen weeks of formal public consultation are scheduled to begin on 26 March, with any final decisions due in the autumn.

We shall be urging people to boycott the consultation
Liz Walke, Save Eastbourne DGH

Two of the four options propose a consultant-led maternity unit and special care baby unit at either Eastbourne or Hastings, with "no unit" on the other site.

The other two options put forward a midwife-led birthing centre at the hospital which does not retain full obstetric services.

But Liz Walke, from the Save Eastbourne DGH campaign, said: "We shall be urging people to boycott the consultation."

Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson added: "Health bosses seem to have wholly ignored the campaigns in Eastbourne and Hastings to retain full, consultant-led maternity units in both hospitals.

"I would urge the PCT boards to insert an 'option five' based on the status quo."

Fit for the Future says health services "need to change and adapt to meet the challenges of the 21st Century" - and the PCTs said keeping things as they are in Eastbourne and Hastings did not meet the criteria.

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