Opinion: Ottery is ideal place for health hub


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This is a copy of a letter sent to MP Hugo Swire.

As I am sure you are aware, there is deep and ongoing concern locally about the future plans for Ottery St Mary Hospital.

The RD&E stroke unit provision is about to vacate the Ottery Hospital buildings and there is a resounding lack of information available about the CCG plans for its future use.

It is clear to see now that the hospital site is being withdrawn from use and faces the prospect of being ‘mothballed’.

Your previous comments on this hospital and its relationship with NEW Devon CCG indicate that you would not wish to see the Ottery Hospital site withdrawn from the essential health provision in our area, even though we have to accept that inpatient beds are not currently part of their plan. You will know that the population of Ottery and its surrounding area is rapidly increasing with new housing developments, as are the needs of its large aging population of which I am part.

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The opening of the Budleigh Salterton Health and Wellbeing Hub is rightly being heralded as a positive step forward for the residents of Budleigh, Exmouth and Woodbury.

The community of Ottery St Mary and the surrounding villages of East Devon can surely present a similar case for such a hub being developed at Ottery Hospital as soon as possible. Confirmation of a definite plan for this would allay fears of mothballing or closure and start to reassure your constituents that the CCG plan for community care is indeed a reality, rather than an ill-defined elusive aspiration.

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The Ottery Hospital League of Friends has already donated £250,000 to the hospital and is wanting firm assurance that this costly investment will not be lost in the accounts of NHS Property Services.

I am asking you to take up the case of Ottery Hospital with NEW Devon CCG and any relevant government departments as you think appropriate. I would hope that, as a result, a clear, unambiguous statement can be made about the timetable for full operational use of the Ottery Hospital site.

The current silence and lack of transparency on the future of our hospital is unacceptable and fosters a lack of confidence in NHS and Government plans to meet our health and social needs.

I look forward to confirmation that you will be able to take this matter forward as soon as possible.

Judith Ayres


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