Proposed cuts to Ottery Hospital slammed as ‘unworkable’

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 113

Ottery protesters arrived at Devon County Council HQ at County Hall on Monday afternoon. Ref sho 1135-47-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Civic leaders have sent a damning response to healthcare bosses about proposed closures within Ottery Hospital.

The Herald has joined campaigners and councillors in fighting the closure of the inpatient beds and minor injuries unit (MIU) – and the public have just a week left to voice their concerns.

Town councillor Martin Thurgood drew up detailed criticisms of the plans to be sent to East Devon’s clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Speaking at Monday’s town council meeting, he said: “To my mind, they have yet to come up with a workable way of managing their strategy.

“The approach seems to be to keep the worst and close the best,” he said, in reference to planned closures in Ottery, as opposed to other areas.

His response to the consultation provides evidence that shows Ottery Hospital to be a ‘star’ performer in an independent, patient-led assessment.

It also states the CCG has failed to provide financial data to support its proposals, as well as failing to recognise the value and need for community inpatient beds.

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“The savings sought by reducing community hospitals are vanishingly small when set against the total CCG budget and where other, much larger savings can be made,” he added.

He said Exmouth had shown the move towards a ‘Hospital at Home’ approach is unaffordable and argued that it focuses on caring for the elderly at the expense of others, especially younger people.

And he accused East Devon’s CCG of being ‘economical with the truth’ in claiming the beds would not be lost until alternative provision is made.

“We recognise and accept that there is an absolute need to take an evidence-based approach, yet we do not believe that the CCG has done so in the Eastern locality,” said Cllr Thurgood.

His response also points out the nationally recognised dementia centre based in Ottery, that is of huge value to the community.

After the meeting, Save Our Ottery Hospital’s (SOOH) Philip Algar said: “Whilst I was collecting opinions from local people, some respondents claimed that, if we were successful, it would be at the expense of other local hospitals.

“I am keen to ensure that, when arguing our case, we stress that we are not just thinking about the people of Ottery and villages, but residents in a much wider area who would be inconvenienced if the Ottery hospital inpatient beds were closed.”