Bed losses ‘tip of the iceberg’

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 113

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 1135-47-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A coachload of campaigners staged a protest on the steps on County Hall this week in opposition to proposals which will see Ottery’s hospital lose its inpatient beds.

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 116

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 1161-47-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

The group of around 30 residents brandished banners, opposing changes being considered by the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which would also see the hospital lose its minor injuries unit.

Their protest took place ahead of Monday’s meeting of Devon County Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee, which debated the CCG’s proposals.

Ottery councillor Claire Wright told the meeting she was concerned the plans would lead to even bigger changes in the future.

“We need to remember that what is in front of us today is the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 117

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 1179-47-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant


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“In the longer term, next year, the year after, the likelihood is we will see significant bed losses.”

Cllr Wright added she was not convinced that the ‘knee jerk’ proposals would produce any savings, and believed they would end up costing more money.

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Plans outlined by the CCG as part of its ‘transforming community services’ document will eventually see a move towards more people being cared for in their homes.

Dr David Jenner, chair of East Devon’s branch of the CCG, said: “In the eastern locality, consolidation of beds is on the principle of getting better value for money and why we are assessing the community options at home to make sure they are real, credible and available.”

He said that although the proposals would see Ottery’s beds moved to Honiton, the CCG had no plans for a significant reduction in the total number of beds across the district.

He acknowledged that the ‘most contentious issues’ for residents in East Devon was that some community hospitals would lose their beds.

“Those will always be difficult decisions to make,” he said.

A proposal from Mrs Wright that the committee ‘strongly oppose’ the proposals was passed.

? The CCG will make a decision on its proposals on January 6 when its 12-week public consultation comes to an end.

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