Hundreds of expectant mums transferred from Eastbourne to Hastings


More than 200 expectant mothers were transferred to Conquest Hospital on blue flashing lights last year.

In the two years following the downgrading of maternity services at Eastbourne DGH in May 2013, 428 patients travelled a further 20 miles for treatment.

A Freedom of Information request to South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) has revealed the trust moved 199 patients in 2013/2014 and 229 in 2014/2015 – compared to two in 2012/2013 and six in 2011/2012.

Eastbourne maternity ward was downgraded to a midwife-led service while specialist services including consultant-led obstetric services, operated from the Conquest Hospital.

Liz Walke, chair of Save the DGH campaign group said, “This cannot be safer for women and their babies and this information doesn’t include those who have to get to Hastings by their own steam.

“The pain and anxiety in labour is bad enough as it is so to put these huge numbers of women through an agonising journey is plain cruel.”

Maternity services at the Conquest Hospital were rated inadequate by the CQC in March.

Jenny Crowe, Head of Midwifery said, “These figures include women in early pregnancy transferred from either A&E, the Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic or the Maternity Day Unit along with some women with gynaecological problems. Around a quarter of these transfers include women in labour or a mother and baby transferred after the birth from the Midwifery Unit.”

The trust said 57 women were transferred from the Eastbourne Midwifery Unit to Conquest in 2013/2014 and 74 in 2014/15 – figures ‘well within’ the national average.

Ms Crowe said the majority of women transferred in labour do not require an ‘immediate medical delivery’ but are in the ‘safest place’ for their labour.

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