Minor Injuries Unit: Group’s ‘lip service’ report gripe

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital. Ref shs 7754-40-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital. Ref shs 7754-40-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Health bosses have been accused of paying ‘lip service’ to recommendations from independent representatives against proposals that would see Sidmouth’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) close.

The final report from a stakeholder reference group was discussed by decision-makers at a meeting of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Wednesday.

Recommendations in the report stated that Sidmouth’s newly-refurbished MIU should remain and also included provision for beds in each East Devon community hospital, some of which would close under CCG proposals.

Members of the independent stakeholder group have expressed disappointment at the CCG’s handling of their report.

Representative Steve Holt said: “The [stakeholder] group was put together at the behest of the CCG to look at alternative options and to consider the community requirements.

“From the papers we received a week ago, there were concerns from a number of people that the recommendations that had been put forward had been given lip service rather than taken seriously.

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“We would like for you to look at how the group was established and not to dismiss them.”

He based his comments on a tick-box assessment laid out in a CCG document, which reads in favour of its original proposals.

The chairman of the meeting, Dr David Jenner, said: “I’m disappointed that the group feels we have been dismissive before we even discussed them.”

The CCG board fully recognised the level of public engagement in the consultation process.

Board member and Sidmouth GP, Dr Mike Slot, praised the work of the stakeholder group, which he said started out as ‘disparate’, but came together to form recommendations that he would strongly support. He also stressed his vested interest because of his work in East Devon, but put forward a strong argument in defence of keeping community beds.

Speaking after the meeting, Di Fuller, who represented Sidmouth on the stakeholder panel, said: “I think the length of time for discussion was disappointing after the amount of work that had gone into it.

“I’m concerned about the next step and the way in which it will be presented to the governing body.

“I think the decision has been made and I think they are just going through the process.”

The stakeholder group’s report and the CCG’s views will be presented to a governing body, which is expected to make a decision on June 4.

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