1. ITV Report

Big turnout for hospital protest

Hundreds march along Eastbourne seafront Photo: ITV Meridian

Thousands of people attended a protest march in Eastbourne against plans to change hospital services in East Sussex.

Health bosses currently run stroke care, emergency orthopaedic and emergency surgery at both the DGH in Eastbourne and Conquest Hospital in St Leonards-on-sea, on the outskirts of Hastings.

They are now considering centralising these services at one of the two hospitals instead and a public consultation is being held.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which is in charge of both hospitals, says the changes will help it attract the specialist staff it needs to run the services.

However campaigners say lives will be put at risk because the changes will mean hundreds of patients a year will have to travel at least 20 miles or more for urgent treatment.

Speaking ahead of the seafront demo, campaigner Liz Walke said" "If NHS managers had had their way in 2006 Eastbourne DGH's maternity unit would have been downgraded, but we, the people, marched in our thousands, and stopped this from happening.

"We have got to do this again. It would be absolutely fantastic and a real boost to see all those babies born in the DGH since 2006 marching with us.

"To think, especially if they had to have any medical intervention while in labour, these women would have had to have gone to Hastings. And in some of those circumstances the outcomes may have been very different."

Andy Dickenson sent the following report.

Eastbourne seafront filled with hospital protestors Credit: ITV Meridian
Residents want to keep services at the Eastbourne District General Hospital Credit: ITV Meridian