New group to fight hospital bed closures

Residents pack Axminster Guildhall to protest at plans to permanently remove all in-patient beds fro

Residents pack Axminster Guildhall to protest at plans to permanently remove all in-patient beds from the town's hospital. Photo by CHRIS CARSON - Credit: Archant

Axminster Hospital Action Group launches petition

A new group has been launched in Axminster to spearhead the fight to save inpatient beds at the town’s hospital

The Axminster Hospital Action Group (AHAG) consists of representatives of the League of Friends, GPs, Axminster Care Service, The Community Hospitals Association, and members of the public.

It was formed following the recent public meeting called to discuss changes to local community healthcare services announced by the New Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in September.

Amongst them is a proposal to retain Axminster Hospital but permanently close all the inpatient beds and transfer them to a new “hub” at Seaton – a move which has received widespread condemnation from residents.

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They say that with the town set to grow massively over the coming years beds should not only be retained but increased.

Barbara Nevitt, spokeswoman for the new action group, said they would be encouraging members of the public to write to

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both the North Devon Health Care Trust and The CCG as soon as possible to protest at any loss of beds at Axminster Hospital.

“The letters need to be personal but we can provide help in composing them if anyone needs it,” said Mrs Nevitt. “We can also provide key points for people to highlight when they write.”

The action group has also launched a new petition opposing the closure of inpatient beds. It will be available for people to sign not only in Axminster but also in outlying villages as well as Lyme Regis and Charmouth whose residents whose residents also use the hospital

The petition is being organised by a team of volunteers and will be available in local shops, businesses and in Axminster market on Thursdays. An online petition will also be made available shortly.

Added Mrs Nevitt: “There is an awful lot going on which we will be bale to say more about soon,” said Mrs Nevitt. “People need to know we are fighting back.”

• The North Devon Health Care Trust recently announced plans to temporarily close all inpatient beds at Axminster and transfer them to Seaton during the winter because of low staffing levels.

It is holding a series of drop-in sessions to enable the public to meet senior clinicians and managers and discuss the temporary transfer which starts in January. The sessions take place at Axminster Hospital from 2pm to 4pm on Mondays on November 10 and 17.

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