Eastbourne hospital maternity downgrade comes into effect

Eastbourne District General Hospital
Image caption Under the changes, Hastings will provide specialist care and Eastbourne services will be downgraded

Temporary changes to maternity and paediatric services in East Sussex are to take effect from Tuesday.

NHS managers at Eastbourne District General Hospital proposed the changes to cope with staffing shortages.

Women whose pregnancies are thought to be low risk will still be able to give birth at its midwife led unit.

However, more complex cases will be sent to Conquest Hospital in Hastings, where women considered low risk can also choose to go.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Jamal Zaidi said the changes were being made "purely on the grounds of safety".

"The safety of women and babies is our number one priority and we believe that these temporary changes will mean we can provide the best care possible."

'Safety unaffected'

Changes are also being made to the way services are provided on the Friston Children's Unit at Eastbourne DGH.

The unit will become a Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit which will only assess and treat children who have been referred by their GP.

Any child who is likely to need an overnight stay in hospital will be treated elsewhere, usually at Conquest Hospital.

Dr David Scott, consultant paediatrician, said: "Local parents should be assured that these changes will not affect the safety of the service."

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