Residents fill hall to oppose bed cuts plan in Honiton

'Hands off Honiton Hospital': The message conveyed by attendees of last week's meeting.

'Hands off Honiton Hospital': The message conveyed by attendees of last week's meeting. - Credit: Archant

More than 100 people squeezed into Honiton’s Mackarness Hall to lead the fight on a consultation that is proposing to close the town’s inpatient beds.

The meeting, set up by Honiton Senior Voice, invited councillors Mike Allen, Henry Brown and Claire Wright to speak, before giving attendees the chance to voice their concerns and opinions.

Speaking at last week’s meeting, Cllr Allen, who is district councillor for Honiton St Michael’s, said residents need to get together to fight the plans.

Mr Allen said: “This town of Honiton has a hospital that has been here for hundreds of years.

“It is a very important focus for the local community, not just in Honiton but right across the rural area.”

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He added: “This consultation ruled out Honiton primarily on the basis of travel times for people to get to the hospital.

“It’s a consultation in name only and it’s a farce as far as I’m concerned.”

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Mr Allen added that residents should unite with local groups, councillors and MPs to form as much of a mass lobby as they can to fight the consultation.

Cllr Henry Brown also spoke at the meeting, and pinpointed Honiton as a ‘prime location’ with a ‘booming’ residential population. Mr Brown also echoed Mr Allen’s call to lobby, adding: “The necessary factors for scaling back our community beds I just don’t think are appropriate at all.”

Devon county councillor Claire Wright said it is ‘completely undemocratic and unacceptable’ in her view that Honiton is not listed in the four options for retaining community hospital beds.

She said the first job Honiton has to do is to collectively challenge the NHS NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on the decision.

Cllr Wright also urged residents to avoid the trap of arguing for Honiton in isolation, as that leads to ‘implicit agreement that beds should be lost from the system but elsewhere’.

“You are stronger together,” she added. “Make some noise, and good luck.”

Read the full report of last week’s meeting at

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