Futures Forum: The future of health services in Sidmouth... "The MIU closure is not about cash, but about the provider not being able to deliver."
... with the Hospital's Comforts Fund - which has raised millions of pounds over the years - particularly concerned:
‘We have to fight for hospital MIU’s future’ - News - Sidmouth Herald
In Ottery, matters look considerably worse:
OTTERY ST MARY: Anger over hospital ‘panic measures’
OTTERY: ‘People power’ can save hospital beds
And in two of East Devon's other towns, it seems there will only be one hospital between them:
HONITON TODAY | NEWS | AXMINSTER: HOSPITAL BEDS | 2014
It’s a straight fight between the two
These concerns are reflected across the West Country:
West Cornwall HealthWatch has voiced "grave concern" about plans to replace health services from Poltair hospital near Penzance. | Western Morning News
Apparently, it has a lot to do with 'challenged health economies':
Analysis: Distressed health economies' leaders doubt books will balance
Analysis: Distressed health economies' leaders doubt books will balance | News | Local Government Chronicle
Political leaders have been making their voices heard:
EAST Devon county councillors are calling on NHS chiefs to reveal the financial reasoning behind their proposals to shut hospital beds across the region as a way of stemming a looming deficit.
Under the proposals, the aim is to improve care in the community, increasing the number of healthcare professionals and therefore close hospital beds to fund this change.
The CCG launched a 12-week consultation due to come to an end in December.
The East Devon locality county committee, which met last week, voted unanimously to oppose the loss of all in-patient beds at Axminster and Ottery St Mary hospitals.
Members also objected to the loss of the Minor Injuries Unit at Ottery. The plan is for Exmouth, Honiton and Tiverton to become Urgent Care Centres serving the surrounding communities.
And the committee requested urgent provision of the CCG’s financial figures to accompany the plans.
As previously reported by the Echo, despite telling Devon County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee that the hospital was “running out of capacity”, in a statement the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust backed the CCG’s reasoning for the changes, stating that the current model of provision is “simply not sustainable or affordable”.
But Ottery St Mary ward member, Councillor Claire Wright, who is also a member of Devon County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee accused the CCG of pursuing an “ideological” way forward rather than the “right way” forward for patients.
Cllr Wright has also long called for details of the financial justification for the proposals and said the lack of information is akin to a lack of transparency in the process. Exmouth GP, Dr Tom Debenham and NEW Devon CCG board member Tina Teague, attended the meeting to explain the plans.
Cllr Wright said Dr Debenham explained that moving beds from Ottery and Axminster into other East Devon hospitals would save approximately £500,000. Cllr Wright, said: “I explained the pressure on discharging well patients from the RD&E which is really difficult because of a lack of residential recuperative care beds, exacerbated by Devon County Council withdrawing funds to its residential homes across the county.”
East Devon civic leaders want bed closures justified | Exeter Express and Echo
MID Devon MPs Neil Parish and Mel Stride have called on the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to rethink its proposals to close community hospital beds.
The pair, along with fellow Conservative and East Devon MP Hugo Swire at Newcourt House, Exeter, along with representatives from the area for talks on the proposals.
Mr Swire said: "While I recognise that local NHS services need to reflect the changing demands of the population, I have come to the conclusion that it would be illogical to close all the beds at Ottery St Mary Hospital.
"Ottery is a growing town and, more than ever, my constituents want and need an accessible and well-resourced local hospital. If all of these beds were to close, my constituents would have to travel significant distances to reach the closest hospital, which I think is completely unacceptable."
Mr Swire added: "The move seems something of a contradiction since it has recently been announced that the Exmouth and Crediton stroke services will temporarily be centralised at Ottery St Mary Hospital from November.
"According to NHS bosses, this is due to Ottery's excellent 'clinical environment, space for the correct number of beds and good transport links to RD&E and the rest of Devon'. It strikes me therefore that these are all good reasons to keep medical beds open indefinitely.
Mr Swire said: "We three MPs are seeking a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to discuss this matter."
Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish said: "The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital provides an excellent service but at many times of the year there are great pressures on beds. Therefore sending patients back to Axminster would be a very good use of local resources and a good use of the community hospital.
"I have asked that the clinical commissioning group put pressure on the North Devon Healthcare to not only provide hospital beds at Axminster Hospital but also to include 20 additional beds in Axminster to meet the needs of the growing population of Axminster and the surrounding villages.
"There is only one more year of the contract that North Devon Healthcare has to provide services at Axminster Hospital and so these beds should not be closed. The whole provision of services at Axminster Hospital should be looked at in the new contract after October next year so that we can work with all the community hospitals in East Devon, including Seaton, Honiton and Tiverton."
Central Devon Mel Stride said: "I am not at all convinced the case for closing beds at Crediton has been properly made. There is no clear and compelling case for removing beds. They should stay."
MPs' call for rethink on hospital beds closures | Tiverton Mid Devon Gazette