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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 15:12 GMT
Hospital maternity unit to close
Protesters in Eastbourne
The campaign groups joined together to fight for both hospitals
Plans to scale down maternity services at one of two East Sussex hospitals have been passed.

The Conquest Hospital, Hastings is to get an upgraded maternity unit, but Eastbourne District General Hospital will have midwife-led care only.

The decision to move services to a single base was made by the two primary care trusts (PCTs) on Thursday.

Campaigners protesting against the plans called for full maternity services for both towns at the meeting.

They have delivered a petition and two Christmas cards from people in Eastbourne and Hastings warning the health secretary that lives would be put at risk.

'Successful and safe'

A special care baby unit and inpatient gynaecology services will now be sited at Hastings, with Eastbourne having a midwife-led birthing centre similar to an existing one in Crowborough.

Nick Yeo, chief executive of the East Sussex Downs and Weald and Hastings and Rother PCTs, said: "We've looked very, very hard at the evidence - we have our own local evidence, we have Crowborough which works very successfully and very safely and actually gets very good feedback in terms of the women who use it.

"When they are implemented I believe these decisions will offer a safer service for the women of East Sussex.

"I also believe it will make the recruitment of high quality clinicians much easier because they will want to work in an environment where they see a varied mix of cases and where their skills will be used to the full."

But Liz Walke, of The Save Eastbourne DGH campaign, said they would fight on.

She added: "I think we did everything in our power to stop the decision being made today because it's not based on what we would like.

"It's based on medical evidence that hasn't been submitted today and not been acknowledged."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Eastbourne's maternity service is to be scaled down



SEE ALSO
Closure plan for maternity unit
14 Dec 07 |  Sussex
NHS campaigners take to streets
17 Nov 07 |  Sussex
'No decision' over NHS services
29 Nov 06 |  Southern Counties
Anger at NHS consultation 'farce'
23 Nov 06 |  Southern Counties
Blair meets hospital campaigners
11 Oct 06 |  Southern Counties

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