Health bosses announces plans for sessions in Hatherleigh, Lynton and Barnstaple

Extra dates have been added for consultations on the future of the region's community hospital beds.

It has been decided to cut the number from 74 to 40 and people are being asked where they would like to see these beds in South Molton, Holsworthy, Bideford and Ilfracombe.

Options on the table include moving all beds to North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple or a combination of the other locations, though Ilfracombe is unlikely to feature as Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has said it will cost £2.5 million to make it viable again.

Dr Alison Diamond, NDHT chief executive, said: "We believe we can provide a better model of care for patients, which focuses on maintaining their independence and health by supporting them in their own homes. This model of care has already proved successful, including in Torrington.

"We continue to encourage local people to attend one of our public meetings, tell us their preferred option based on the criteria developed with the stakeholder review group and help us make the best decision for the local community."

The next meeting is on Tuesday (September 1) at Hatherleigh Community Centre.

There is one on Thursday, September 3 at Lynton Town Hall and another on Monday, September 7 at Barnstaple Rugby Club.

All venues will have sessions at 3.30pm, 5pm and 6.30pm.

* People can also comment via www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/consultnorth or write to Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4JB.

Alternatively email ndht.contactus@nhs.net or call 01271 322460.