STITCH group says extension is ‘move in the right direction’ as residents given extra 21 days to voice opinion.

Margaret Brown (left) of STITCH said the extension was a move in the right direction.Margaret Brown (left) of STITCH said the extension was a move in the right direction.

NO decision will be made on the closure of inpatient beds at Torrington Hospital for a further 21 days, the NHS has announced.

Last week townspeople protested outside of a meeting in South Molton where the hospital’s oversight group met to discuss the six month consultation.

But after a crunch meeting with Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox, the NHS has today (Thursday) announced that the consultation will be extended.

There will be an extra 21 days for members of the community to write in with their concerns, and a final stakeholder forum will be held to discuss the project.

The NHS will also be seeking an independent body to conduct an impartial review of the evaluation process.

Dr Chris Bowman, clinical director of community services for NDHT, said: “We have fulfilled all our duties to engage and involve the community during this project.

“However, we have always held a genuine desire to work in partnership with the community.

“Earlier this week we had a very productive meeting with Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, and members of the Torrington community, including STITCH.

“At this meeting, it was requested that the NDHT and CCG Boards agreed to oversee the completion of four remaining tasks before making any final decision about the model of care in Torrington.”

Margaret Brown, chairman of the Save Torrington’s Irreplaceable Torrington Cottage Hospital (STITCH) group, said she thought it was a step in the right direction.

“It is the way forward, rather than just saying that’s it, done and dusted,” she said.

“We knew things weren’t right and we wanted them to stop and listen to the people.

“At last they have listened and realised there is more work to be done.”

The deadline for responses in Monday, August 18, for more information visit www.torringtoncares.co.uk.