Campaigners plan April Fools’ Day Protest at Sidmouth hospital

PUBLISHED: 16:31 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:16 31 March 2017

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3262-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3262-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

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Campaigners will mark April Fool’s Day tomorrow (Saturday) by telling health chiefs planning cuts to services in Devon: “You can’t fool us.”

Campaigners will mark April Fool’s Day tomorrow (Saturday) by telling health chiefs planning cuts to services in Devon: “You can’t fool us.”

Supporters of Save Our Hospital Services will be dressing in red and forming a ‘red line’ outside Sidmouth Victoria Hospital from 10am.

There will be similar demonstrations at hospitals across East and North Devon to warn against ‘massive’ cuts planned by the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, including the closure of 72 inpatient beds in the Eastern locality.

The campaigners argue it is ‘foolish’ to transform services when the NHS is in ‘crisis’ and there should be no cuts to any health services anywhere in Devon.

Di Fuller, chairman of Sid Valley Patient Participation Group, said: “We have a crisis nationally, in Devon and particularly in Eastern Devon - we have the oldest demographic nationally and the highest population of 85 years-olds.”

The demonstrators are also protesting against NHS England’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which they say will see £550million slashed from Devon’s health spending by 2020/2021.

The plan provides a framework within which detailed proposals for how services across Devon will develop.

A spokesperson for the NHS in Devon said: “Local health and social care services are under severe financial pressure, and health and social care services are likely to be £550million in ‘deficit’ in 2020/21 if nothing changes. The NHS is planning to address this gap by reducing real costs by around £100million over the five-year period, combined with more efficient management of services and productivity, which will meet the remaining shortfall.

“The Devon Sustainability and Transformation Plan sets out ambitious plans to improve health and care services for people across Devon in a way that is clinically and financially sustainable. Health and care organisations, as well as local authorities across Devon, have been working together to create the shared five-year vision to meet the increasing health and care needs of the population - while ensuring services are sustainable and affordable.”

Demonstrations are also taking place in Seaton at 10am, Honiton at 11am and Ottery at 2pm.

A Save Our Hospital Services spokesman added: “No hospital must be sold as all community hospitals are essential to provide minor injury support, palliative care with easy access for

patients and patient

visitors, thereby keeping pressure off the main hospitals which provide acute services and major health treatment.”

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