Firm reassurances about future of Ottery Hospital from health MPs

MP Caroline Dineage. Picture: Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Wikimedia Commons

MP Caroline Dineage. Picture: Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Wikimedia Commons - Credit: Picture: Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Wikimedia Commons

Health ministers have offered firm reassurances Ottery Hospital has a ‘sustainable future’ following questions in the House of Commons.

East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire asked Caroline Dinenage, minister of care, on Tuesday to work with MPs and the community to ensure the town’s hospital had a ‘great future’ following the visit from Matt Hancock in September.

At the time, the Secretary of State could not dispel fears about the hospital and was criticised for leaving without speaking to members of the public.

Mrs Dinenage told the Commons: “Community health care plays a vital role in helping people to stay independent and healthy.

“I know my friend the right honourable Secretary of State was very impressed by the work he saw at some of the existing community hospitals and community care hubs and discussed with Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust (RD&E) how they are going to work on a sustainable future for his (Sir Hugo Swire’s) community hospital in Ottery St Mary.”

Sir Hugo Swire MP

Sir Hugo Swire MP - Credit: Archant

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Elli Pang, chair of the Ottery St Mary and District Health and Care Forum, said there was a need for groups to work together to make Mr Hancock’s words a reality.

Mrs Pang said: “Local people have been let down before by our local NHS health providers and I trust that we have not simply had empty words.

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“We now need to see local NHS managers and the RD&E engaging with the local community and making absolutely sure that our hospital has a great future in providing for the health care needs of local people. We all know that the hospital is an outstanding modern facility with a great reputation for the way in which its staff care for local people.

“It would be an absolute tragedy if it were ever lost.”

Sir Hugo said he would look to meet with Mrs Dinenage at the earlier opportunity to secure the future of the hospital.

He added: “It is great to get firm reassurance that the hospital has a secure and sustainable future within East Devon’s local healthcare provision with Ministers committing to work closely with Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust and others on the ground.”

The NHS trust was approached for comment.

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