Candidates urged to oppose hospital cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:47 04 May 2017

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.

Archant

Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) campaigners are calling on East Devon’s county council candidates to sign a pledge opposing further NHS cuts.

They claim that any candidate who supports the Wider Devon Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) is backing the intention to cut £550million from the Devon NHS budget by 2020/21.

“We believe that this cannot be done without posing a threat to the health and well-being of constituents across Devon,” they say.

According to the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), the STP sets out ambitious plans to improve health and care services.

According to the NEW Devon CCG website: “Health and care organisations, as well as local authorities across Devon have been working together to create the shared five-year vision to meet the increasing health and care needs of the population - while ensuring services are sustainable and affordable.”

However, in a statement, SOHS said: “We ask candidates for East Devon in the forthcoming county council elections to pledge their support to oppose any further cuts to health and social care provision in East Devon if they are elected as a county councillor.”

The STP aims to remove 400-plus acute beds and 190 community beds across Devon and these cuts are well under way.

The decision was made last month to close the community beds at Honiton and Seaton hospitals. Care will be offered instead to people in their home, but there is not clear evidence and it is not proven that it works, claim SOHS campaigners.

They continued: “Devon County Council already struggles to recruit and retain enough social care staff to deliver to the current level of need in East Devon. Closure of community hospital beds will place a further strain on this service.

“On December 8, the full county council unanimously passed a motion to halt the Wider Devon STP. Since then the STP’s plans for major cuts in health provision have continued to be implemented.”

The health and wellbeing scrutiny committee of Devon County Council has been examining the plans.

SOHS said: “We would want all councillors to ensure that the health and wellbeing scrutiny committee adequately fulfils its scrutiny remit. SOHS East Devon believes that the provision of health and social care should be a key issue in the county council elections and that all candidates should demonstrate that, if elected, they will positively and pro-actively represent their constituents in health matters.

“In order to assess which candidates are willing to challenge the proposed cuts to local health and care services, we have sent a covering letter and a copy of the pledge by email or post to all East Devon candidates.

“We are asking them to sign the pledge to that effect.”


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