In-patient beds will be retained in South Molton and Holsworthy.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has decided to close all inpatient beds at Bideford Community Hospital.

Board members met in Barnstaple this morning (Tuesday) to consider a number of options designed to reduce overall bed capacity in the north of the county from 74 to 40.

They voted unanimously to close beds in Bideford – which celebrated its 90th anniversary last week – and retain an overnight service in Holsworthy and South Molton.

Beds in Ilfracombe - which closed in November due to staff shortages - will also not reopen.

The beds will go in around four weeks despite ‘grave concerns’ raised by local GPs, who claim the closures are ‘untested’ and could be dangerous for a significant population of patients.

The trust said it believes it can provide a better model of care for patients, focusing on maintaining their independence by supporting them at home.

The decision came after a public consultation strongly opposed moving community beds to North Devon District Hospital.

David Goodman, South Molton mayor and chairman of the hospital’s league of friends, said after the meeting: “We are delighted, but there are no winners here.

“The beds are safe for now but we are sad to see Bideford are going to lose theirs.”