NHS 'can't afford Honiton's five star service'

PUBLISHED: 11:49 14 April 2010 | UPDATED: 01:07 16 June 2010

ALL four prospective parliamentary candidates in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency are backing a campaign to safeguard post-natal care at Honiton Community Hospital.

ALL four prospective parliamentary candidates in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency are backing a campaign to safeguard post-natal care at Honiton Community Hospital.

That is what town councillors heard at a meeting on Monday, when it was revealed NHS bosses have backed out of attending a public meeting.

Honiton Town Council unanimously agreed to go ahead with the meeting - to give campaigners a chance to air their concerns in public.

Former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock revealed in-patient services for new mothers have been temporarily withdrawn at the hospital - due to staff shortages, according to the NHS.

"Our experience, in the past, is that the NHS has failed to consult," he said, pointing out 4,000 people have now joined a Facebook group set up to oppose changes to maternity services.

Councillor Whitlock added: "The NHS is not sending representatives to the meeting, claiming election purdah.

"I asked if I could submit some questions and they said I could, but then said they couldn't answer the questions I had submitted - for the same reason."

Town and district councillor Peter Halse said: "This is a very serious situation.

"There is no doubt that part of their (NHS) policy in dealing with the financial situation is to downgrade.

"We have got a five star service and they are taking a couple of stars away.

"This is a disastrous situation."

Councillor Halse added: "No wonder they (NHS bosses) don't want to appear (at the public meeting). It is quite convenient just now.

"They can't afford to keep the service up, so they are taking it away from us."

Councillor Halse added: "It is not consultation, it is insult-ation."

The public meeting will be held in the Mackarness Hall at 7pm on Friday, April 16, and is open to all.

Former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock will chair the meeting, organised by Honiton Town Council.


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