Protestors from Seaton, Honiton, Okehampton and elsewhere in Devon will converge on County Hall again on Tuesday 25th July from 1 pm, before the special meeting of Devon County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee at 2.15 which will decide whether to refer the closure of beds in the three hospitals to the Secretary of State.
NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group proposes to replace the beds with a new system of care at home. We shall be pointing out that:
The new system, which they have been developing only since March, has not been tested in winter, let alone a flu epidemic; it is uncertain that they will be able to staff it effectively over time given the complex travelling arrangements that it requires for medical as well as care staff.
The small number of beds (halved to 71) which they propose to retain across the 3 remaining community hospitals ignores the facts that East Devon has far more over-85s (the key users of community beds) than other areas of Devon and that these numbers are projected to treble in the next two decades.
The remaining beds will not be distributed in an ‘even geographic spread’ as the CCG claim but, concentrated in Tiverton, Exmouth and Sidmouth, give no provision at all in the Axe Valley which is the area of East Devon furthest from the RD&E.
The closure of beds is driven by the CCG’s aim of reducing the amount of rent which it has to pay to NHS Property Services for community hospital space, and is probably a prelude to the gradual elimination of community hospitals over the next few years.
Six speakers from the affected communities will address the Committee in the Public Participation session, and I shall be addressing them as County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton.
We urge that the Committee use its legal power to refer the CCG’s decisions to the Secretary of State.
Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton & Colyton”