EDDC registers 'extreme' concern at Devon's hospital bed cuts

PUBLISHED: 13:30 31 October 2016

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Proposed cuts to hospital beds will hit elderly and frail residents the hardest - and should be 'killed stone dead'.

The comments came AS East Devon District Council (EDDC) registered its ‘extreme concern’ at NHS NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) plans, which members said lacked rural-proofing.

They also questioned the validity of a consultation – that could see Sidmouth lose all 24 of its inpatients beds – claiming the previous round of cuts had public input, but were, in fact, a ‘done deal’.

Councillor Mike Allen said: “The CCG uses inaccurate logic and biased consultation questions, therefore it’s not a real consultation – it’s an act of manipulation. There’s no rural-proofing and yet the majority of older people are in rural areas. The most accessible towns are excluded. Dementia and mental health provision is totally ignored. The effect on the viability of other services is completely ignored. It’s an absolute debacle. Let’s kill this idea stone dead.”

Cllr Douglas Hull, who has cared for family members for 25 years, said: “We’ve got to make sure people are well looked after and not just turfed out. We’ve got to have a halfway house between the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and the community.”

He called for a taskforce to be formed to scrutinise the CCG’s proposals – and said it should be able to make decisions without having to wait weeks at a time to defer to full council.

Members were considering a motion to oppose the cuts and to ask Devon MPs Sir Hugo Swire and Neil Parish to continue to fight them.

The cuts were put forward by the Success Regime, a body tasked with formulating a new, home-based model of care in a bid to plug the CCG’s expected £384million deficit by 2020/21.

Cllr Eileen Wragg said: “My concern is the people who will suffer are the patients who will be sent home with scant and sometimes no care provision. I believe we were ill chosen as a pilot scheme and I support this motion. Even more, I would support the abolition of the Success Regime - and those who got us into this awful mess being held to account.”

Cllr Andrew Moulding said an independent report on closing inpatient beds in Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth’s minor injuries unit was presented to NHS bosses in 2015 – and then disregarded. “They said they received it, and that was it,” he added. “They never considered it, because it was a done deal. It was not a consultation. They were putting forward proposals, they had to go through the motions and that was the way it was.”

Cllr Moulding said councillors were never given official figures, but were told inpatient beds made up less than five per cent of the budget. He urged EDDC’s health scrutiny committee to get hold of the CCG’s audited accounts and the figures it is using to justify the bed cuts.

Members voted almost unanimously in support of the motion.

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