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Councillors object to ‘dangerous’ healthcare reforms

PUBLISHED: 06:09 14 July 2014

Sidmouth Hospital ref shs 9193-33-11TI

Sidmouth Hospital ref shs 9193-33-11TI

Archant

Healthcare reforms that could see Sidmouth Victoria Hospital lose some of its inpatient beds have been objected to in the strongest possible terms by civic leaders.

The town council was given just a day to respond to an NHS consultation – but they criticised it as ‘dangerous’ and ‘wishy washy’ for having no firm proposals.

Members fear there are insufficient numbers of nurses to care for patients in their homes and warned a cut in community beds will place a greater burden on emergency departments.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Councillor Ann Liverton said: “This a major reduction of services dressed up as an improvement.”

Cllr Graham Liverton added: “I think there’s something very wrong. The party in government [Conservative] is my own, but they have got it wrong.”

He said that while the support of the comforts funds is ‘wonderful’, the hospital needs enough staff to maintain the service it offers.

The NEW Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) described the ‘tremendous opportunity’ it has to help people maintain their independence by being cared for in their own homes.

It also plans integrating health and social care and adds that the ‘emphasis’ is set to change from hospital to home and from care delivery to prevention of ill health.

Cllr Kelvin Dent said: “It’s great if you can be [cared for] at home but not everyone can. Sidmouth has a lot of elderly people and many couldn’t possibly live at home.”

Cllr John Dyson added that Sidmouth’s voluntary sector was probably better than elsewhere, but that did not mean the demand for medical staff was not there.

District councillor Peter Sullivan said Tamara Powderley, the CCG’s head of locality commissioning, told a meeting that cottage hospitals would be most affected, but none of East Devon’s five would close.

In a letter to the CCG, members said it would be cheaper to centralise care in the community hospitals than in patients’ homes, and Sidmouth’s older demographic would not be able to cope with a proposed increased dependence on technology.

They said they could in no way support any changes to care provision which resulted in fewer bed spaces or a reduction in patient care locally at the hospital and requested a full, detailed consultation before any changes take place.

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