'Hands off' our hospital!
PUBLISHED: 09:19 23 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:32 25 January 2013
Axminster sends a message to health chiefs not to withdraw day case surgery
Axminster has blasted a “hands off our hospital” message to health chiefs.
The warning comes after plans were revealed to axe a wide range of surgical day cases there.
Supporters fear any major reduction in services could put the whole future of the community hospital in jeopardy.
“I feel saddened that the amount of investment from the community and Axminster League of Friends over the past years will be in vain,” Cllr Mervyn Symes told the town council last week.
Now members are to write to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS deploring any reduction in day case surgery, which it provides at the hospital, and call on their MP Neil Parish, to back them.
Cllr Symes said the town might also consider starting a petition.
He told the meeting that cuts, likley to be implemented after March 31, were being planned to oral surgery, general surgery, including hernia operations and vasectomies, urological procedures to treat bladder disorders, plastics for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. and endoscopy investigations.
The only thing likely to be retained would be treatment for eye conditions, he said.
Cllr Symes added: “If we lose these resources there will be no need for a hospital.
“I have spoken with Linda Coombes, the practice manager at Axminster Surgery, who has informed me that Dr Philip Taylor is investigating the situation.
“I feel we, as a town council, should write a strong letter to the trust in protest at losing these facilities at our hospital, affecting not only the residents of Axminster but surrounding communities.
“Dr Taylor would be glad of any support the town council can give.”
Cllr Douglas Hull urged residents to “fight tooth and nail” to save the services.
He said they had put together an excellent hospital and team so anything that cut it back would be detrimental to the area.
Deputy mayor Jeremy Walden said: “We must support our local hospitals. This is the thin end of the wedge. The reason is financial pressure on the district general hospitals which are being paid by results.
“We need to protect our NHS hospital”.
Cllr Sue Spiller said a lot of improvement had been made to the hospital thanks to local fund raising and legacies. It was really well used.
“They had wonderful staff and services and we have to fight to save it,” she said.
Cllr Ian Hall pointed out that Axminster was set to grow in the year ahead.
“How can we get bigger if we take vital services away?” he asked.