1,900 oppose cuts to Ottery’s hospital beds

Protestors at Ottery Hospital

Protestors at Ottery Hospital - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have vowed to continue fighting for Ottery’s hospital beds after a public consultation on controversial plans ended.

The Save Our Ottery Hospital (SOOH) group this week presented a petition signed by 1,900 people to health bosses.

Handed over on the eve of the consultation deadline on Monday, it signals the opposition to the proposed closure of the town’s inpatient beds and minor injuries unit.

This followed the second official meeting of a new ‘reference group’ in which the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) promised to continue discussions for ‘as long as necessary’.

Representatives from five East Devon towns were at the meeting in Sidmouth.

SOOH chairman James Goddard does not believe the wishes of people in the community are being listened to and said: “I still feel that a decision has already been made and this is just a box ticking exercise. This process should have been done a long time ago.”

Speaking on behalf of the CCG, Dr Mike Slot said: “There seemed to be a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the way things were going and the way the CCG were handling things.”

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He said the CCG wants people to express their views and feel they will be listened to.

Ottery representative Councillor Martin Thurgood has heavily criticised the CCG for providing incomplete information throughout the process.

He said some of the data presented at the meeting was helpful, but there is still a long way to go before a decision can be made.

“I would not go so far as to say there’s optimism,” said Cllr Thurgood. “But we need to find an option that meets the needs of the people in Ottery and the wider locality.”

A stroke unit is currently located in Ottery hospital as a short-term measure .

Cllr Thurgood said he hopes it will remain there long-term, with provision for a small number of community beds.