Debate ensures at Ottery Town Council about sending letter ahead of public event

Ottery St Mary Hospital entrance. Ref sho 7454-44-14TI Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery St Mary Hospital entrance. Ref sho 7454-44-14TI Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Civic leaders have voted to hold fire on sending a letter about Ottery Hospital until after a public drop-in event in the town.

Councillor Roger Giles drafted a letter expressing the hospital must not be made ‘surplus to requirement’ and at a council meeting on Monday – urging colleagues that they should send it as soon as possible.

Cllr Giles told the meeting: “The whole purpose of this is to secure the future of Ottery Hospital.

“The reality we are facing is the CCG [Clinical Commissioning Group] is preparing its estates strategy and the estate strategy is expected to be known next month.

“The purpose of the letter is to influence the estate strategy so we need to send the letter now, not after they have made their decision.”

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Members agreed on the content of the draft letter but voted it would not be sent before Ottery Health and Care Forum’s Health Matters event on June 29.

Councillors Anne Edwards and Josefina Gori raised their concerns the letter could be seen as ‘confrontational’ and poking the CCG in the eye.

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Cllr Edwards said that health and care forum had been working hard in the background, adding: “I think if any letter is sent it should be sent after the drop-in event, if at all.”

Cllr Giles voted against the decision adding that the letter would not be poking the CCG in the eye and showed ‘models of restraint’ and ‘diplomacy’.

The health forum is working with a number of partner organisations to hold an event focusing on health and wellbeing matters in the town.

Residents are invited to come along and talk to care providers and support groups at two drop-in sessions in The Institute.

Leigh Edwards, co-chairman of the health and care forum, said the event will showcase the excellent range of services available in Ottery, and also look to identify any gaps and challenges to meet the population’s needs.

Mr Edwards said: “It will give people a great opportunity to meet experts and volunteers committed to helping people improve their health and wellbeing; supporting people to live happier, healthier lives.

“We want to build a comprehensive picture of all that is available to help connect people with services and their community.”

There will be two sessions from 2pm to 5pm and 6pm to 8pm.

Partners for the event are the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Coleridge GP, Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, Devon County Council and East Devon District Council.

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