Feedback from bed cuts meetings: Sidmouth and Exmouth

SIDMOUTH (Robert Crick):

The evening session in Sidmouth saw a chastened CCG and a more confident community pushing back relentlessly.

“CCG abandoned their Powerpoint sequence halfway through and never even put their Options forward for discussion or vote; but acknowledged that the NHS is in chaos and that the Health and Social Care Act had fragmented the system but added that the community care provision had been outdated and broken for a good 20 years. All agreed this needs urgent attention.

“Much scepticism about the way forward and anger about NHS Property Company stripping community assets entrusted to the Secretary of State in 1948, whose successor in 2012 kept the property but dropped the responsibility for delivering the care.

“Sterling work by James and Momentum Barnstaple with some support – in words – from Conservative Councillors, although the lead was taken by the Independent East Devon Alliance in the meeting. Many efforts made by the ‘facilitators’ to rule any ‘political’ questions out of order. Claims about the success of the ‘Sick Regime’ in North Devon were dropped and instead we were told that Plymouth has a good integrated health and social care package. Any evidence available?

“How do you provide care at home for those who are homeless or visiting or living in poverty? And many other trenchant questions. Much food for thought for the unfortunate CCG. Local GP challenged the 80 wise clinicians who had reached the absurd conclusions in the proposal. Much embarrassment.

“Please let Exmouth and other towns know that it was not a victory for Sidmouth Hospital but a successful push by Sidmouth community to rejectall proposed cuts until and unless the alternative is in place and tried and tested, which will require investment in staff recruitment, training and retention, morale restoration with full review of pay differential between managers and clinicians.

“Analogy: we are burning too much fossil fuel – so we will close down all the power stations next year while we consider how to invest in massive insulation and renewable energy programmes.”

EXMOUTH (Louise McAlister)

Had to leave early but lots of critical questioning from participants.

Much anger (from me anyway) when we were told we have a rep from the CCG at our table to ‘help us frame our questions’. I immediately told her that we don’t require that. Instead we bombarded her with our own questions and then helped her consolidate them.

The CCG would be hard pressed to make claims for any support from the event.

Dr Mezjner (who I have met before as he is responsible for the non-existent Budleigh health hub) did a long speech basically demonising hospitals. Lots of claims, no evidence.”