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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 14:30 GMT
Support to stop hospital closures
Protesters in Eastbourne
The campaign groups have taken to the streets over the plans
Campaigners fighting to keep full maternity services at Eastbourne District General Hospital have won the support of local authorities.

NHS managers want to move specialist services to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, leaving Eastbourne with a midwife-led unit.

Members of the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) voted to refer the decision to the government.

The committee and campaigners want the plans to be scrapped.

On Monday night, the HOSC voted against the proposal for one consultant-led maternity service at Hastings and the midwife-led unit at Eastbourne.

East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust and Hastings and Rother Primary Care Trust have been behind the proposals.

'No choice'

Councillor Sylvia Tidy, HOSC chair, said: "We need to be 100% certain that these proposals will offer an improved service for women giving birth.

"At present, HOSC remains unconvinced.

"Unless the PCTs are prepared to reconsider their decision, we have no choice but to refer our concerns to the secretary of state, and request an independent review."

She added: "In this way, we hope that all the options will be fairly considered, and a high level of independent scrutiny brought not only to the clinical issues, but to the preferences of local people."

Campaign head Liz Walke said: "This is very good news for the campaigns. The PCT cannot, at present, proceed with their proposals."

Public fears were first raised in early 2006 over the possible loss of maternity services at either Eastbourne District General Hospital or the Conquest Hospital, Hastings.

The Save Eastbourne DGH and Hands Off The Conquest campaign groups organised protest marches and the issue has been raised by local MPs in the House of Commons.

Last month, campaigners called for full maternity services for both towns at a meeting.

Closure plan for maternity unit
14 Dec 07 |  Sussex
NHS campaigners take to streets
17 Nov 07 |  Sussex

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