Month: June 2017
A smug Hugo Swire MP told BBC’s Sunday Politics this morning that East Devon had more community hospitals than western Devon and than the national average. He failed to mention that it has many more over-85s too. He backed the NEW Devon CCG’s plans to replace community hospital beds with care at home, and said we must ’embrace change’.
Swire knows that beds in Exmouth and Sidmouth, in his constituency are safe from closure, so he is happy to write off Seaton (which he no longer represents after boundary changes a few years back) and Honiton.
Swire’s self-satisfied comments raise the question of whether he played any role in the CCG’s bizarre, unexplained, last-minute switch of 24 beds from Seaton to Sidmouth. Clearly had the CCG stuck with its original preferred option of closing beds in Sidmouth, they would have given Claire Wright a huge issue – which might well have seen her taking Swire’s seat in the general election.
Readers will recall that during the consultation, Swire was already saying that if beds had to go, they should stay in Sidmouth. Did Sir Hugo, or Tories acting on his behalf, lobby the CCG? How did the CCG respond? Both have questions to answer.
Swire’s colleague Neil Parish MP told me and other Seaton councillors that the decision ‘smells’. Whose smell was it?
I appeared on the same edition of Sunday Politics as Swire, but was not in the studio to respond to him. Here I am being interviewed!
Unfortunately the Labour MEP for the South West, Claire Moody, who was on with Swire, obviously didn’t know much about East Devon hospitals and failed to respond.
(YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WATCH THE PROGRAMME ON BBC iPLAYER SOON.)
The Acute Services Review, part of the Devon NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), proposes the closure of maternity units at Newton Abbot, Tiverton, Okehampton and Honiton – the last two hospitals of course designated, with Seaton, to lose inpatient beds too. Read a summary and Claire Wright’s comment.
We will be meeting on the main steps of County Hall from 1 pm to protest against the closure decisions, together with people from Okehampton (whose beds are also threatened) and other parts of Devon. Tell your friends and bring placards!
The meeting starts at 2.15 and we want as many people as possible to be in the public gallery to support our 6 speakers in the public participation session at the beginning of the meeting. As a Councillor (but not a member of the committee), I will be speaking later when we reach the item.
Howard and Anne West are organising a bus to take people from Colyford and Seaton to the meeting. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you would like a seat on the bus (£9).
60 people packed Marshlands, Seaton, last night for the planning meeting which called this demonstration. Dr Mark Welland, Seaton GP and Chair of the Hospital League of Friends, addressed the meeting which was chaired by Jack Rowland, Mayor of Seaton.
My case for the Health Scrutiny Committee to refer the hospital beds decision to the Secretary of State
- Plans to halve the numbers of community beds do not take into account that the numbers of older people in Devon will more than double in the next two decades.
- East Devon needs more beds than other areas because it has the oldest population in Devon and this will continue to grow.
- Community beds are crucial to older patients without transport and when they are distant many relatives will have huge difficulty visiting their loved ones.
- Savings from the closures will be small. Both financial logic and CCG planning suggest that the real agenda is to close a number of hospitals.
- The CCG’s consultation was flawed because it gave no option to keep Honiton’s beds, and the CCG ignored the stronger support for Seaton from people who responded.
- The CCG’s reasons for choosing Sidmouth over Seaton are based on misleading use of evidence about population and age distributions (see table below, explained in letter).
- The concentration of beds in Tiverton, Sidmouth and Exmouth will leave the eastern margins of East Devon entirely without. The CCG’s claim that this is ‘a more even geographic spread’ is entirely false.
- The CCG ignored the fact that Seaton also serves the Axminster area, and has reneged on the commitment it gave when it recently closed Axminster Hospital’s beds, that beds would continue to be available in Seaton.
- Communities in the Seaton, Axminster and Honiton are angry about the decision and expect the Health Scrutiny Committee to refer it to the Secretary of State.
I met yesterday with members of the Colyford Speedwatch team, who are campaigning for traffic calming in the village. We discussed various possible measures, including a crossing and a mini-roundabout on the A3052, and a Gateway on Seaton Road where the cycle way meets the road (Colyton Parish Council have already supported a funding bid for this proposal, and I reported on my discussions at their meeting yesterday evening).
I hope to meet soon with Cllr Stuart Hughes, the Devon Cabinet member for Highways, and the Speedwatch teams in Colyford and Seaton Down Hill (Seaton) will soon be convening a new meeting with the County and Neil Parish MP, which will follow up from an initial meeting held in March.