Opposition to ‘dangerous’ hospital bed cuts across East Devon is mounting

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3264-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

Sidmouth Victoria Hospital Ref shs 3264-50-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton. - Credit: Archant

The county council is calling for proposals to be halted while packed meeting in Sidmouth called for public to reject plans

Opposition to ‘dangerous’ hospital bed cuts across East Devon is mounting as ‘deep concerns’ remain over plans to reduce numbers by 54 per cent.

A packed public meeting in Sidmouth saw more than 100 concerned residents, campaigners, doctors and healthcare staff call for the public to reject the closure of any inpatient units.

This came as Devon County Council (DCC) members unanimously backed calls for community bed cuts to be put on hold to allow MPs to lobby the Government for an ‘urgent and significant’ increase to NHS funding.

The Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has issued assurances that no changes made until stringent alternative measures are in place and maintains the plans will provide better care for patients.


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Speaking before the full council on Thursday, DCC’s Conservative leader, Councillor John Hart said: “We all recognise the intense financial pressure that all public services are under.

“DCC has had to make incredibly difficult decisions about services over the past seven years and we sympathise with health managers and want to work closely with them.

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“But health and social care are so vital in Devon where we have a significantly higher proportion of older people who need our help and support.

“In light of these conclusions and the very strong feelings in communities across Devon about the local proposals we think there needs to be a pause in these plans to allow health managers to review their budgets and for our MPs to fight for adequate funding for health and social care for our residents.”

Speakers at a public meeting in Sidmouth Parish Church on Friday presented a united front as they urged people to oppose all bed cuts amid concerns the new model of health provision will compromise patient care.

Chair of the Sid Valley Patient Participation Group Di Fuller argued for the ‘vital role’ community hospital beds play and said not only is more funding required, but also spoke of the ‘enormous challenge’ of recruiting care workers.

Dr Mike Slot of the Sid Valley Practice urged the public to vote against all of the CCG’s proposed options and said the new model should be properly tested and evidence shared.

He called for a study to be conducted that provides clear data on community bed numbers and needs.

The CCG is currently hosting a public consultation into the proposals to change from hospitals to a home-based model of care – a move it says will improve safety for patients and plug a predicted £384million deficit by 2020/21.

A panel of 80 clinicians will need to be satisfied that a set of stringent measures are in place before they will sign off on any hospital bed closures.

A public drop-in session is being held at Kennaway House today (Friday) between 2.30pm and 4.30pm where residents are invited to speak to CCG representatives, gather information and voice their views.

Visit www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk for more information on the consultation.

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