Moving the unit to Barnstaple is ‘one of the options’ being looked at, says health trust boss

Health bosses have admitted the closure of the stroke ward at Bideford Hospital is on the table.

There have been rumours in recent days the Elizabeth rehabilitation ward was set to close and Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said this evening (Monday) it had been under discussion.

Chief executive Dr Alison Diamond said an internal meeting had been held on September 2 the potential of arrangement of beds across the area and how best to plan the service to meet future need.

"At this meeting, stroke services were discussed, as it is clear to clinicians that we need to take steps to enhance our stroke care," she said.

"The clinical benefits of combining the acute stroke and the stroke rehabilitation units have been known for some time and therefore moving the stroke rehabilitation unit from Bideford Community Hospital to North Devon District Hospital was one of the options raised at this meeting."

A further meeting is planned with Bideford staff on Friday.

Dr Diamond added: "I would like to reassure people that Bideford Community Hospital is not closing.

"This is a discussion around the location of stroke rehabilitation services, as per the Trust's stroke strategy, and all the other services currently offered at Bideford will remain."

These include the minor injuries unit, outpatient services, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and x-ray.