Talks on future of hospitals delayed

The smaller of the two new minor injuries rooms. Ref shs 7706-40-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

The smaller of the two new minor injuries rooms. Ref shs 7706-40-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

Health bosses announced this week that talks to decide the future of community hospitals in East Devon will be temporarily suspended.

Representatives from Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary have been involved in stakeholder group meetings to discuss alternatives to proposals from the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Under the proposals – which affect five community hospitals in the eastern locality – Sidmouth Hospital could lose its newly-refurbished minor injuries unit (MIU) and Ottery’s inpatient beds and MIU would both go.

The group was due to meet again on Monday (April 20), but this is now to be rescheduled for next month – after upcoming elections on May 7.

The CCG said work will be ongoing in the meantime to prepare a report on the panel’s discussions so far, and cited this as the main reason for delaying the talks.

Preparation of the report is being overseen by the group’s independent chairman, Sir John Evans, and will be discussed at the meeting in May.

But chairman of the Save Our Ottery Hospital (SOOH) campaign, James Goddard, said there was no mention of a report being prepared in earlier meetings.

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He has accused the CCG of ‘moving the goalposts’.

Mr Goddard said: “I am really very cross with the CCG and the whole process.”

SOOH has recently voiced concerns that there is a ‘veil of secrecy’ over the consultation process, but the CCG has said the report is designed to summarise the group talks for concerned parties.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to attend the meeting in May.

A date is yet to be confirmed.

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