Council to make crucial decision on proposal to axe hospital beds

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 July 2017

Honiton Hospital supporters at Honiton's Mackarness Hall last week.

Honiton Hospital supporters at Honiton's Mackarness Hall last week.

Archant

Next Tuesday, Devon County Council's scrutiny committee will decide whether to use its power to refer the decision of the NEW Devon Clinical Commission Group (CCG) to close all in-patient beds in Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton hospitals to the Secretary of State for Health.

Hospital campaigners in the Seaton and Honiton areas are preparing for a crucial meeting of Devon County Council’s health scrutiny committee next week.

Next Tuesday, Devon County Council’s scrutiny committee will decide whether to use its power to refer the decision of the NEW Devon Clinical Commission Group (CCG) to close all in-patient beds in Seaton, Honiton and Okehampton hospitals to the Secretary of State for Health.

The meeting is a defining moment in the saga surrounding the CCG’s proposals to axe all of Honiton and Seaton’s inpatient beds.

Under the initial proposals, Seaton was earmarked to retain its 18 beds - but those in Honiton and Okehampton did not appear in any of the shortlisted options following the scoring process.

A large group of protesters have now planned to congregate outside County Hall in Exeter in a last-ditch effort to reverse the proposals, before they attend the meeting at 2.15pm.

Among those who will be speaking against the plans are Seaton and Colyton county councillor Martin Shaw, Seaton mayor Jack Rowland, and the chairman of East Devon District Council’s scrutiny committee, Cllr Roger Giles. Other residents of Axminster and Honiton will also speak at the meeting.

Cllr Shaw said: “This is a crucial decision not only for the beds but also for the future of the hospitals.

“The CCG’s next step is its local estate strategy, which is likely to involve partial or even complete closures of hospitals.

“Seaton is more remote from acute hospitals than any other East Devon town and it is vital that we retain our hospital, which was built by the local community.”

Devon County Council’s scrutiny committee reviewed the proposals last month but opted to defer referring them to the Secretary of State while it investigates the health authority’s evidence for saying its ‘care at home’ policy will be better for residents.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Sonja Manton, director of strategy at

the CCG, assured the committee

that they will not introduce the bed cuts until they are sure the new model of care works and she invited members to sit in on their planning for it.

If it was shown it could not be implemented, the decision to close the beds could be reversed.

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