Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish, East Devon MP Hugo Swire, and Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, have called on the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to rethink their proposals to close community hospital beds locally.
Following a meeting on Friday 10th October at Newcourt House in Exeter with representatives from around the area, Mr Parish and Mr Swire expressed their extreme disquiet about some of the proposals.
Neil Parish, who also attended a public meeting at the Guildhall regarding Axminster Community Hospital on the 4th October, has written to Mr John Dowell of the East Locality Clinical Commissioning Group, asking him to rethink the bed closure.
Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said:
‘The Royal Devon & 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 twenty 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.’
Hugo Swire said:
‘Whilst 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 continued:
‘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 2014. 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 concluded:
‘We three MPs are seeking a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to discuss this matter’.
Mel Stride, MP for Central Devon, said:
‘I am not at all convinced that the case for closing beds at Crediton hospital has been properly made. The financial data is lacking as is a clear set of proposals as to exactly what will be offered by the hospital in the event that it becomes a health hub. In short, there is no clear and compelling case for removing the beds from this hospital – they should stay.’