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Nick blasts Amber Rudd’s silence over NHS Sussex decision

December 1, 2012



Nick working on the campaign with Margaret Williams at Priory Meadow

Nick working on the campaign with Margaret Williams at Priory Meadow

Dear Amber,

I am shocked that you have not, to my knowledge, made any public comment following NHS Sussex’s decision to accept the ESHT recommendations about the Shaping our Future consultation.

My worry is that, as boringly predictable as it was, your bag-carrying responsibilities for George Osborne have led you to take your eye off the ball locally…

You know that I have been critical of your failure to support the Hands Off the Conquest Campaign, and that your logic for doing so was fundamentally flawed. This was made even more evident by your later backing of the Ridge Fire Station campaign on the basis of attendance times – the cornerstone of our argument with the Trust about their proposals.

You were adamant that you were right though, and that your commitment to a centre of excellence for Stroke services was your priority.

However, as a result of the decision of the NHS Sussex Board on 23 November 2012 – a meeting attended by Stephen Lloyd MP and myself but not you – stroke services will now be based at Eastbourne District General Hospital. Given that a FAST response is required for stroke, I personally believe your intervention has cost those in the rural and easterly edges of Hastings & Rye very dearly indeed.

Furthermore, your unwillingness to work across party lines with other colleagues in a campaign to protect core emergency services at both sites has led to the possibility of the Trust dividing opposition to the proposals in a way that was not possible throughout the Maternity campaign of which we were both a part from 2007.

If the result of all of this is that major towns in East Sussex do not have access to core emergency services, I believe you are personally culpable, and I will take every opportunity to put this opinion.

Having said all of this, there is a way in which you can still help.

Despite our disagreements, surely you can see that it would be in the best interests of East Sussex people that the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (which is due to meet on 13 December to make its decision) comes to the conclusion that it must refer this controversial set of proposals to the Secretary of State, and for an independent reconfiguration decision – just as was asked for on Maternity in 2008.

I trust that, despite our significantly different positions on this subject, you can see the benefit for everyone – yourself included – of an independent view.

I hope you will do, and be seen to do, whatever you can to lobby HOSC to refer to the Secretary of State.

Yours truly,


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