Maternity services in doubt
THE FUTURE of maternity services are in doubt because not enough babies are being born.
Around 4,000 births each year are needed to keep the obstetrics units, which deal with complicated pregnancies, open at both the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH.
Hospital bosses said only 3,300 babies were born every year and confirmed one unit faced the axe next August.
But they have not yet decided which hospital will lose out.
Hastings and Rye MP Michael Foster said: "How can the Trust make that decision? It is very much jumping the gun before a major review of services is undertaken.
"We are too distant from other facilities including those at Eastbourne."
Conquest chief executive Kim Hodgson made the announcement at Wednesday's board meeting.
She said: "From August regardless of any consultation there will no longer be a 24-hour obstetrics unit on both sites."
Dr David Scott, medical director for East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said there was a national drive to encourage pregnant women not to give birth by emergency Caesarean.
He added the number of doctors training to become obstetricians was falling nationally thus creating a shortage.
He said: "At the moment we cannot staff both units 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the experienced doctors we need.
"We are looking to run a 24-hour service on one hospital with double the number of doctors."
"Only 3,300 babies are born at both the Conquest and DGH each year with 25 per cent being obstetrics cases.
"In order for both units to run there needs to be 4,000."