Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 12:44 UK

PCTs set out maternity care plans

Eastbourne District General Hospital
The PCTs were told to keep consultant-led units on two hospital sites

NHS chiefs have set out the future of maternity services in East Sussex after being told to keep consultant-led units on two hospital sites.

Two primary care trusts (PCTs) had planned to boost services in Hastings, while downgrading those in Eastbourne.

But a government panel examined the plans and made fresh recommendations.

On Friday, the PCTs published plans to implement the panel's changes. It follows a long-running campaign to save the units in both towns.

The two PCTs - East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT and Hastings and Rother PCT - said their first priority was to form a plan to ensure current hospital services could be "sustained on a safe and secure basis until this programme of work is completed".

'Support for improvements'

Vanessa Harris, interim chief executive for both PCTs, said: "At every stage the plans will be developed with the involvement of those who may be affected by them."

She said the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) had "strongly supported" the trusts' plans to improve antenatal, postnatal, and outreach care.

Plans unveiled on Friday said the PCTs would work to continue consultant-led services, special care baby services and inpatient gynaecology services in both Hastings and Eastbourne, with a timetable for the work still being developed.

Thousands of people in Hastings and Eastbourne took to the streets to protest at plans to reconfigure the units.

The issue was also raised in the House of Commons by local MPs, and protesters met the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Threatened maternity unit saved
04 Sep 08 |  Sussex

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