Review of East Sussex Maternity Services

Eastbourne Borough Council has released the results of a survey into maternity services in East Sussex.

Conducted in partnership with the Office for National Statistics, almost 1,700 mothers who gave birth in East Sussex in 2016 took part. This accounts for 35% of the total number who gave birth in the county last year.

The full report was made available to all health agencies across East Sussex, on Eastbourne Borough Council's former website from Friday (October 27). You can download the report below.

Key points from the survey, that will be considered by Eastbourne Borough Council’s Scrutiny Committee on December 4, are:

  • Most mothers believe the services to be excellent or good but 17% consider the post-natal services to be poor or very poor
  • 78% of mothers would wish to give birth at a location with doctors on site
  • 93% of mothers served by the Eastbourne, Hailsham, and Seaford CCG would choose to give birth at Eastbourne DGH if a full obstetric service were available
  • Of the 312 mothers who had a pre-natal appointment with a consultant in Eastbourne, 85% did not give birth at Eastbourne DGH
  • Of those mothers who started labour at Eastbourne DGH, 27% were transferred during labour, principally to Hastings
  • Mothers served by Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG accounted for the vast majority of transfers during labour and after birth, with significantly fewer transfers of mothers from other CCGs

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of the Council, said: “The Council has continued to hold and sustain a strong interest in this area of health service provision, particularly due to the loss of a full obstetric service at the Eastbourne District General Hospital and I welcome this survey as the first in-depth research that has been undertaken since that change. I look forward to hearing the views of the scrutiny committee on its content.”

Councillor Robert Smart, lead member for conduct of the survey, said: “The high level of response to the survey exceeded expectations and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide very complete and informative replies.

“The importance of this unique aspect of health care cannot be over-stated and it is imperative that such services meet the needs of the community in a fair, equitable and high-quality way. A huge amount of information has been collated and presented in this survey and it is my sincere wish that the feedback received is fully embraced by service providers and commissioners in assessing current and future provision.”

Issued 27 October 2017