EASTBOURNE MP Caroline Ansell says: “I am an MP today because a life-saving NHS experience changed the course of my life.”

She was talking after she joined the construction team at the new surgical centre now taking shape fast on the DGH site. 

She said: “The new hospital investment coming to our town is going to be game-changing.

I am an MP today because a life-saving NHS experience changed the course of my life. We so very nearly lost our son, aged just 5, and every birthday since we have raised a glass to his surgeon and the host of NHS heroes behind his care. He’ll be 21 next week. 

I have been that special needs mum myself so completely understood concerns around any changes to paediatric care.”

The East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) has just come back with its report on children’s services at the DGH and – at this early stage – she says it gives reassurance. There was also positive feedback from hospital staff and patients.

In conclusion the report said: “The new service is safe, does not negatively affect patient care for most patient groups, and has the potential to improve patient care and experience in general.” 

Caroline added: “Additionally, the NHS trust that runs the DGH has commissioned an independent clinical review so patients can have “the absolute assurance that the decision is in line with best clinical advice”, HOSC added. This should report by the end of this month, and I will report back again. 

Until their findings are known, there won’t be any call in by the Secretary of State but I continue to meet with her and the minister responsible. They know how important this is to me. 

The same applies to maternity services. I want all women in Eastbourne to have the choice to have their baby in Eastbourne, like I did. 

This service is temporarily suspended and affects around 3 expectant mums each week; routine antenatal and postnatal appointments are as busy as ever, with 60+appointments each week and a workforce plan is being formulated to allow the birth unit to reopen consistently at the earliest opportunity.”