We’ve made some temporary changes to our maternity services, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Please see details below, including some information videos.
Latest visiting restrictions by hospital
To help us keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, stop the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19), visiting restrictions are in place – please see click here for the latest information
Across Sussex, NHS Trusts including East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend homebirth services and births at stand-alone Midwifery Units – including our unit at Eastbourne Hospital (EMU). Instead births in East Sussex will take place in our maternity unit at Conquest Hospital, Hastings.
We have made this decision because the increasing cases of Covid-19 locally have put our local ambulance service under significant pressure and they cannot guarantee a timely response to calls for an ambulance transfer in an emergency.
This includes attending home addresses for complications that can arise during home births, and attending for complications that can arise at stand-alone midwife led units where there may need to be a transfer to another maternity unit. This means that giving birth at home or at a stand-alone midwife presents a higher degree of risk.
We are so sorry if these changes cause you distress. We know this will be really disappointing if you had planned to give birth at home or at EMU.
Our teams are working hard to ensure that our maternity services at Conquest Hospital are as accommodating as possible and we want to make sure that your birth is as close as possible to the experience you expected.
All of our midwives are skilled and experienced in natural birth provision and Conquest Hospital offers the space and staff to readily support the number of births we expect and will mean that we can maintain the ethos of midwife-led care that is so important to you and East Sussex families.
The maternity unit has its own dedicated entrance which means that you do not need to access the unit through the main hospital.
At Conquest Hospital we are also:
- Reserving and extending designated rooms for midwife-led care
- Allocating the EMU and home-birth midwives to provide midwife-led care on the unit as much as possible
- Continuing and promoting the use of our water-birth facilities as long as it is safe to do so
We remain fully committed to providing a full range of birth experiences and will reopen EMU and our home birth facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.
Safety of our patients and staff is paramount during the pandemic. Unfortunately we have had to make the very difficult decision to ask women/people to attend their pregnancy scans unaccompanied from Monday 18th January 2021. The reason for this is the rapid and significant rise in Covid-19 cases in our local communities and within our hospitals.
We are currently seeing significant absences from work amongst our scanning team due to Covid-19. If this continues we will not be able to provide a full scanning service. This would mean delays for women/people and risks associated with this. Usually scanning staff see around 20 people each day, if women are accompanied this could mean our staff are exposed to 40 people. We need to minimise exposure for the scanning team as much as possible to protect the service.
We do understand how upsetting this will be. We want to address this as much as we can and the sonographer will support women/people to record a short video of their baby on their mobile phone once all of their checks are completed.
Exceptions to this will be decided on a case by case basis.
The decision to ask women/ people to attend scans unaccompanied will be reviewed fortnightly. We hope to be able to lift this restriction as soon as possible. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Because there has been some inaccurate information circulating, we want to reassure you that you will not be asked to wear a face mask during your labour.
The times when you will be asked to wear a facemask are:
- when you come to the hospital for any antenatal or postnatal appointments
- when you are transferring from one ward area to another
- if you are admitted to stay with us, once you have been reviewed and your temperature is normal you can remove your facemask.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.
Coronavirus infection and pregnancy
Please see information on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website:
About our services
We care for women and their babies, during pregnancy, labour, birth and up until one month after birth.
Our midwives provide midwifery-led care in a number of settings, including local General Practitioner (GP) surgeries, children’s centres and within our hospitals at:
Over 6,000 outpatient appointments take place each year within the department and our hospitals are teaching hospitals so we involve students with all aspects of care.
Your experience of pregnancy and birth really matters to us, and we will do all we can to provide the best possible care for you, your partner and your baby, within the hospital, community and home settings.
We are committed to personalised care and will try to meet your wishes so far as it is safely possible.
These pages provide general information about our services and include video tours of Conquest Hospital Maternity Unit and Eastbourne Midwifery Unit which guide you through your pregnancy journey.
Obstetric and Gynaecology Consultants and SAS doctors
Referral to Maternity services at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
If you have recently discovered you are pregnant, you can refer yourself straight to our maternity services via our secure online form.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has launched a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the CQC amongst women who are pregnant, planning to have a baby, are looking to become pregnant, or have recently used maternity services in England. They want more women to be aware that if they’re pregnant and choosing where to have a baby, they should be able to choose the right birth plan, and that CQC resources – inspection reports and rating, are there to help make that decision.
Consumer research the CQC recently commissioned has highlighted low awareness among new mothers of their inspection reports and the information they can provide on the quality of care provided by maternity services across the country.
The CQC objectives are to encourage more women to:
- Use the free, independent CQC inspection reports to compare maternity services near them
- If they’ve recently had a baby to share their experiences with CQC, whether good or bad
More information about the CQC campaign can be found on their web page: