I went to the Seaton Hospital League of Friends’ Annual General Meeting last night. About 50 people crowded into the Harding room. It was in many ways an inspirational occasion, as you could almost feel the excellent work, by hospital staff and League volunteers alike, which was reported to the meeting. It was all the more poignant therefore to realise that the in-patient beds, regularly full and working well as part of the local health system, were slated for removal by the CCG.
The League is fully behind judicial review, if Seaton Town Council decides on Tuesday (2nd), following the legal advice which we are about to receive, to pursue this. The League has established a holding account for those wishing to donate towards the legal costs, details of which will be made available in the next couple of days.
Note. The Town Council discussion of judicial review will be in closed session, for legal reasons.
Yesterday’s County hustings in Seaton – attended by about 50 people – demonstrated that the election is mainly a contest between the official Conservative, Helen Parr, who supports the East Devon Tory policy of ‘bed-less hospitals’, and my campaign, fighting to save Seaton’s and Honiton’s beds. The Labour candidate, who comes from Exeter, also took part.
Two other candidates, Peter Burrows (Lib Dem) and Jim Knight (‘Independent’ Conservative), showed that they are not serious by absenting themselves from the debate, organised by the Town Council. However Peter obviously needed to see what was going on – he turned up just before 9 and watched the last few minutes of the debate!
I don’t think Theresa May needed to call a General Election, nor should the opposition parties agree to it. It is simply untrue that the Government was facing obstruction on Brexit or anything else – Parliament has given her everything she asked for. More likely she was worried about the possibility of up to 20 Conservative MPs (and possibly also the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez) being charged with breaches of election law in 2015 and disbarred from office.
However the General Election will give people the chance to vote for NATIONAL parties, and in Tiverton and Honiton it is inevitable that Neil Parish will be re-elected for the Tories. It makes it all the more important that in the County election, people vote LOCAL and INDEPENDENT for the best candidate to represent Seaton and Colyton to challenge policies which damage our communities, at the behest of a Government bent on cutting local services and local democracy.
In her election leaflet, the official Conservative candidate for Seaton and Colyton, Helen Parr, confirms her support for the East Devon Tory policy of accepting ‘bed-less hospitals’. Mrs Parr acknowledges that the decision to close in-patient services at Seaton Hospital is ‘a huge blow for the town and wider area’. But her leaflet adds, ‘Helen will do everything possible to get the best role for Seaton hospital for the future’, and will insist that the CCG are ‘delivering the services they are promising before any beds are closed’. So NOT supporting the Town Council’s fight to STOP the bed closures. You have been warned.
All candidates have been invited by the Town Council. This is the second part of Seaton’s Annual Town Meeting, but all are welcome.