Since this article was written, it has been announced that all Honiton Hospital’s community beds will close on 28 Augusy 2017:
“A BAND of angry residents calling itself Honiton Patients Action Group says it plans to keep hospital beds in Honiton by taking direct action to stop the removal of ward beds and equipment.
The group, consisting of several local patients and their families, say they have become increasingly frustrated at the ‘failure of NEW Devon CCG to listen to the voice of local people and their representatives’.
They claim some end of life patients have already been informed by local GPs that Honiton Hospital will not be available after September and, if they need a local hospital bed, they must be prepared for an out of area transfer to Tiverton, Exmouth or Sidmouth.
A spokesperson for the action group said: “It is quite clear that NEW Devon CCG have never been prepared to fully engage in a sincere dialogue.
“There has been a failure to listen to the voice of local people and our representatives. We believe they decided in advance they would close these beds despite the fullest and proper representations that have been made by locals and their representatives, including MPs, district and town councils. We have tried sitting down and discussing it with them. We have tried large public meetings, marches, deputations and lobbying including the county council. Now we intend to sit down to stop the closure.
“We feel we have been disgracefully let down by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, by Devon County Council and their local representative Cllr Sarah Randall Johnson, and by Cllr Paul Diviani who seems to be representing no one except himself.
“While they prevaricate, the rundown of the wards has begun and it may well be more serious than they are letting on.
“With the closure of the maternity unit and privatisation of the site Honiton Hospital could be scrapped in the near future – this has happened at 45 other hospital sites.
“Meanwhile there is not a scrap of evidence the promised alternative care system is ready or will be effective.
“As patients we will not meekly accept this and at a time of our choosing we plan to take direct action to prevent the removal of beds and equipment and the stripping of wards.
“This will be a peaceful, non-violent, direct action to prevent contractors gaining access to remove the beds and equipment using whatever peaceful methods we can.
“We are also contacting health trade unions to set up a picket line. We shall invite nurses, doctors and local health groups to join in solidarity, along with Neil Parish MP who claimed he would ‘hold feet to the fire’ to stop the closure. Our MP has become very quiet but this is his last chance to show solidarity.
“When we have finalised our plans we hope that local people and families, all of whom could potentially require these beds in future, will join us to keep up the action as long as we can. We need help and support to organise and publicise this if we are to be effective.
“It is the last real chance for Honiton Hospital and our community and we appeal to everyone to search their conscience.
“While we have life and the will to fight ‘They Shall Not Pass’.”