Ottery League of Friends push for new conversation about hospital

A voluntary fundraising group says it is trying to change the conversation around Ottery Hospital and develop services with the help of local providers.

Adrian Rutter, chairman of the hospital’s League of Friends, told the town council on Monday that although it is different, the hospital is still providing a range of services

He said the group had been speaking to the Coleridge Medical Centre, Devon County Council and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital to launch a ‘community conversation’ to explain which services are currently being provided and which can be developed.

Mr Rutter said the group had two concerns, including people thinking the hospital is closed or nearly closed.

He told the meeting: “Ottery hospital is a virtually brand new building, it has good parking and it has lots of facilities and there are lots of things going on in there that could be used for the whole community both health related and care related.

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“We are really concerned that people may let the hospital go by default by not being aware of the whole range of things that are going on in there or could go on in there.”

He added the group would be looking for a ‘firm commitment’ to services, as it run by volunteers and do not have a large pool of resources.

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Mr Rutter told the meeting: “If we can get some agreement that those are going to be developed in some way, the LOF can use the support that we have had from local people to help develop those.

“But we are not going to do that without a firm commitment to the future of the service and that is where the bigger conversations come in.

Em Wilkinson-Brice, RD&E deputy chief executive/chief nurse said the talks were about understanding needs.

She said: “The aim of the community conversation is to understand the needs of the local population through using a variety of public health tools and local knowledge.

“The first stage of working together in this way will then give us a good understanding of how best we can collectively meet those needs.”

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