Neil Parish MP calls for residents to take part in Axminster Hospital beds consultation

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, has urged Axminster residents to take part in a public consultation launched by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, to keep beds open at Axminster Community Hospital following concerns expressed by many in the community, including Neil.

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has halted its decision to temporarily move inpatient services at Axminster to Seaton and has today launched a four-week public consultation over whether the transfer should take place. In October 2014 the Trust announced a plan to temporarily merge the beds at Seaton. The four-week consultation started on 2nd December and runs until 30th December 2014.

Neil Parish has also welcomed the decision made by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to extend its consultation in the Eastern Locality to provide additional opportunities to engage people and hear their views. It is also planning to establish a group in the Wakely area for the next part of this consultation.

Neil Parish has long sought to protect services at Axminster Hospital. Last year in March 2013 he attended a public meeting at the Guildhall where he supported resident’s calls to keep the beds at Axminster Hospital.

Again this year Neil attended a public meeting at the Guildhall regarding the potential bed closures at Axminster Community Hospital on the 4th October. He subsequently wrote to Mr John Dowell of the East Locality Clinical Commissioning Group that made the case that there should be a “proper consultation” and that the beds to remain in Axminster Hospital. This letter was read out at the meeting of the 21st October.

On Friday 10th October Neil Parish met with CCG representatives from across Devon at Newcourt House in Exeter to express their extreme disquiet about the proposal the close community hospital beds in Devon. Since then Neil has been in regular contact with the CCG to ask that they put pressure on the North Devon Healthcare to not only provide hospital beds at Axminster Hospital but also to include twenty additional beds in Axminster to meet the needs of the growing population of Axminster and the surrounding villages.

Commenting Neil Parish said:

“I am pleased that North Devon Healthcare Trust have paused the closure of beds at Axminster Hospital for a proper public consultation I would urge all resident to contact the Trust and make their views heard. The Hospital provides a vital service for local people and the community have been hugely supportive. The Hospital’s League of Friends had offered financial support to keep the beds open which gives an indication of the strength of feeling in the area.

“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.”

The consultation paper is available on the Trust website at www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/consultation while hard copies can be collected from reception at Axminster and Seaton hospitals.

To take part in the consultation by email contactus@nhs.net or by writing to Dr Alison Diamond, Chief Executive, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4JB.

Consultation meetings will be taking place from 2pm to 4pm on Monday 15th, 22nd and 29th December. To make an appointment, please call 01271 322460 or e-mail ndht.contactus@nhs.net.